Claiming A Street Named King: “Empowering Our Communities” by Author/Professor Dr. Derek H. Alderman of East Carolina University

About 900 Streets Across the United States of America are Named for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Claiming A Street Named King” Project uses the vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a Community Development Model in Reclaiming Streets Named After MLK:

“The Beloved Community”

“Economic Justice”

“Community Empowerment”

“Livable Cities”

“Sense of Place/Belonging”

(Atlanta, Georgia) – In September 2010, Author/Professor Dr. Derek H. Alderman explained facets of the “Claiming A Street Named King” Project during a Power Point presentation entitled “Empowering Our Communities” during a Georgia Clients Council event in Atlanta, Georgia.

Professor Alderman is a research fellow at East Carolina University and a geographer who has helped work on a plan for the redevelopment of the Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards.

The goal is to “improve the condition of boulevards named after Martin Luther King, Jr. across Georgia” and the nation.

Of the 900 streets named for civil rights legend MLK, over 78 percent are located in 10 south states: Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky.

Streets named for Dr. King are located in 40 states, DC and Puerto Rico.

“To name any street for King is to invite an accounting of how the street makes good on King’s promise or mocks it,” said Author Jonathan Tilove, who wrote the book “Along Martin Luther King: Travels on Black America’s Main Street.”

Labeled by the media as a “King Street naming expert,” Dr. Alderman has written numerous formal papers like “Martin Luther King, Jr. Streets in the South: A New Landscape of Memory” and co-wrote a book about the naming of streets for the slain civil rights leader entitled “Civil Rights Memorials and the Geography of Memory.”

“King streets commemorate the civil rights movement as a completed part of the past, but they speak, perhaps more importantly, to the still unfinished nature of the dream,” Alderman said.

He said the project is using Dr. King’s Vision as a Community Development Model in reclaimed streets named after Dr. King:

“The Beloved Community, Economic Justice, Community Empowerment, Livable Cities, Sense of Place/Belonging.”

For a community to develop a grassroots revitalization plan, it must first understand its strengths, assets and opportunities, as well as its problems and challenges, Alderman said.

Through community-based research, residents are able to interpret the information and use it to take proactive steps towards improving their conditions, Alderman said.

Dr. Derek H. Alderman, PhD is a Professor of Geography at East Carolina University, where he is also a Research Fellow in Cultural and Heritage Tourism in the Center for Sustainable Tourism.

Dr. Alderman’s research focuses on the naming of streets for Martin Luther King, Jr. and the political struggles that frequently surround the naming process.

He focuses on how the struggle to name roads for King is part of a broader fight for public space in American cities and extensions of the ongoing struggle for civil rights and livability.

Alderman has a broader interest in economic and social empowerment through African American heritage tourism and how tourist places and spaces serve as arenas for the negotiation of identity, place, and memory within communities.

Organizers hope the project will inspire others to start similar efforts along other streets named for human rights leaders like Coretta Scott King, Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, Grace Lee Boggs, Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela and Mr. James Brown, according to Project Founder Rev. Terence A. Dicks of Augusta, Georgia.

Related Links
“Claiming A Street Named King” on YouTube
“Claiming A Street Named King” Project feature story #1 by Georgia Clients Council
“Claiming A Street Named King” Project feature story #2 by Georgia Clients Council

“Claiming A Street Named King” Revitalizing MLK Boulevard in Augusta, GA.: A Preliminary Report
“Claiming A Street Named King” Official Website
“Claiming A Street Named King” Page Two of Official Website
“Claiming A Street Named King” University of Georgia School of Environmental Design 2007 Report submitted to the Georgia Clients Council<
Blog #1 – “Claiming A Street Named King: Revitalizing All Streets Named For Civil Rights Leaders” on WordPress
Blog #2 – “Claiming A Street Named King: Respecting The Dream” on Blogger
MLK Author Derek H. Alderman: “Martin Luther King, Jr. Streets in the South: A New Landscape of Memory.”
MLK Author Jonathon Tilove: “Along Martin Luther King: Travels on Black America’s Main Street”
News Story: Terence Dicks appointed chairman of Augusta Human Relations Commission
Terence Dicks on Facebook
Terence Dicks on Flickr – PhotoStream
Terence Dicks on Flickr – Profile
Terence Dicks on Google
Terence Dicks on LinkedIn
Terence Dicks on MySpace
Terence Dicks on Twitter
Terence Dicks on Viddler
Terence Dicks on Yahoo

About TerenceDicks

A three-decade community activist for the Augusta, Georgia area, Rev. Terence A. Dicks is very concerned about civil rights, the needs of inner city and moderate and low-income children, fair civil legal representation for low-income and minorities, and many other issues. Terence has fought for civil representation for the low and moderate income involving cases like domestic violence and landlord disputes. In March 2015, Terence was sworn in for a second term to represent the Richmond County Democratic Party on the Richmond County Board of Elections. Rev. Terence Dicks is "widely-acknowledged for standing up for the rights of the powerless in his community and throughout Georgia," stated a press release on the website when he was elected chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission in July 2005. In 1986, Mr. Dicks was co-coordinator of the Mr. James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta – the first time the town and its people earnestly expressed love and respect to the late great Godfather of Soul. About 5,000 people attended the event on the banks of the Savannah River including Mr. Robert Johnson (founder of Jet Magazine and much more), Mr. Greg Gumbel (who did story on BET), and Mr. Eldrin Bell (then asst. police chief of Atlanta). Along with Terence, the other co-coordinator was his lifelong friend and classmate Mr. Greg Peterson, an investigative journalist and outdoor environment reporter who started his career in Augusta and now lives in Ishpeming, MI in the Upper Peninsula near Lake Superior. The event broke the ice and led months later to the first concert Mr. Brown had ever performed in Augusta – ironically in the civic center that now bears his name (the renaming took another 20 years). Music Industry legends Casey Kasem and Dick Clark recorded radio PSAs to promote the free event. Mayor Charles DeVaney – a fan of Mr. Brown – prevented the celebration from being cancelled at the last minute by waiving the “mandatory” insurance requirements. Mr. Brown and Mr. DeVaney both died unexpectedly a month apart. We continue to love and honor the late great Mr. James Brown, who nearly single-handedly quelled Augusta's race riots and prevent further rioting in the 60, 70s. The "Hardest-Working Man in Show Business" Mr. James Brown made Terence Dicks the manager of his first-ever concert in Augusta, GA - about 6 months after the 1986 James Brown Appreciation Day. The concert was held on Saturday, December 27, 1986 at the civic center named in the godfather of Soul’s honor some 20 years later. Terence was the concert manager, producer and promoter. Tickets were only $15 ensuring all Augustans could afford to attend and the first 500 children under the age of 12 were admitted free in accordance with Mr. Brown’s wishes. Among those performing were Mr. Wilson Pickett, John Marshall, Buzz Clifford and Sequence 8. “Claiming A Street Named King” is an initiative Mr. Dicks started during tenure as chair of Georgia Clients Council. The project is about “taking back the street in by building businesses and homes on the crime-ridden abandoned boulevards that bear the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” However the project also has a wider scope. Dicks said the project would welcome claiming back streets named after other civil rights leaders and activists from all backgrounds. For example, the project would welcome groups or persons who want to revitalize streets named for late singer James Brown, the late Coretta Scott King, Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, Grace Lee Boggs, Cesar Chavez and others. “All of these community leaders have messages of hope and accomplishment,” said Dicks, who hopes to hear from the centers, foundations and projects of these community leaders. “People can identify with their day to day struggles,” he said. “Above all they cared about the community they came from,” Dicks said. “They all have made a historic difference.” Reclaiming the streets and heritage of these civic leaders can reinvigorate “economic development and economic empowerment” in each community that honors their work. Rev. Dicks hopes to help others “improve the condition of boulevards named after Martin Luther King, Jr. across Georgia” and the nation. Author Jonathon Tilove “wrote the book that inspired me” entitled "Along Martin Luther King: Travels on Black America's Main Street.” Mr. Dicks hopes those interested will message him thru WordPress/Twitter/Facebook. The project is supported by East Carolina University Professor Derek H. Alderman. “Dr. Alderman is a geographer who has helped us to work on a plan for the redevelopment of the Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards,” Dicks said. “There was a lot of hope around those streets and what he did for me is he reminded me of why we name those streets for Martin Luther King, Jr.," he said. "We are heading into the second or third generation who doesn’t know about Dr. King and his achievements." “The generation that starts it doesn’t have to be the generation who built it,” he said. “We have to keep Dr. King’s work alive – keep it relevant and cogent.” Terence is a longtime member (2004-present) of the Augusta Progressive Religious Coalition. The coalition includes Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Unitarian Universalists, pagans, and local Yoruba, who practice folk religion from West Africa. Among the many positive aspects of the coalition, Dicks developed a relationship with Omar Neal, who has been the Mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama since Nov. 3, 2008. Mr. Omar Neal was the keynote speaker of the 2011 Martin Luther King Day celebration organized by the Augusta Progressive Religious Coalition on Mon., Jan, 24, 2011 at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta. After being an independent voter for two decades, Terence joined the Richmond County Democratic Party (RCDP) in 2002. He joined the Democratic Committee of Richmond County that “has jurisdiction over Democratic Party affairs in Richmond County” and a “purpose is to help select and elect Democratic Party Candidates to office” and whose platform includes “those of the Democratic Party of Georgia.” Terence has served as chair of the RCDP Political Action Committee (PAC) and performed duties that included community outreach. Mr. Dicks is member of the Richmond County State Committee (2011-2014) representing the 12th Congressional District. He served for six years (2002-2008) as state chair of the Georgia Clients Council plus served on the council board for eight years (2000-2008). For nearly a decade, Terence has been a board member (2002-present) of Georgia Legal Services Program and served (2005-2010) on the organization’s Georgia Committee on Civil Justice and is on the state bar president advisory committee. The mission of Georgia Legal Services Program is “to provide access to justice and opportunities out of poverty for low-income Georgians.” In 2007, Mr. Dicks founded the non-profit Georgia Center for Children and Education Inc. and serves as the volunteer executive director. The goal of the organization is encouraging parent involvement in education and to support community involvement in public schools. Originally the Center for Children and Education, the project was founded 1997 by Philadelphia, PA attorney Baruch Kintisch, a former staff attorney for Georgia Legal Services After exhaustive planning, Terence helped co-write and secure a $255,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in the spring of 2008 that is being administered by Paine College for the "New Tools, New Visions 2 Augusta" Project and he serves on the project steering committee. Rev. Dicks is a longtime member of the International Leadership Association (2001-present). Mr. Dicks serves as state of Georgia Coordinator (2008-present) for the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). He joined the national PDA in 2007. For over a decade (1998-2009), Terence served on the board of the Augusta Human Relations Commission including two-terms as chair, three terms as vice-chair. Terence served as a board member (1994-1996) and the second vice president of the Augusta Branch of the NAACP including chair of the fair housing committee. Terence graduated from Westside High School in 1980 during which time he was a member of the WJBF TV-6 Junior Achievement Company that involved filming, editing, producing and hosting 30-minute issue-oriented public service programs that aired on weekends with student-sold commercials. Terence did a summer internship in 1980 – just after graduating from high school – at the Medical College of Georgia Television Production and was taught by people who include the late TV Director Mr. Armond “Brother” Jackson , Jr. - a longtime TV production expert in Augusta including at WRDW TV-12 and WJBF TV-6. During high school and for about 7 years afterward, Terence was a radio announcer at several Augusta radio stations including disc jockey (when records were vinyl 45s), sports, features, talk show and more. The stations included WBIA and WCKJ. Terence worked in production at WAGT-TV with Mr. Frank Crotts including being a live switcher (punching proper buttons to keep shows going and inserting commercials). He also worked at several Augusta restaurants as a chef and bartender.
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