Naming a street for Martin Luther King Jr. is perhaps the easiest way a city can express its approval of the civil rights movement. Aside from whatever pittance is required to update maps and street signs, it's completely painless, particularly since it doesn't require any actual effort to address stubborn residential segregation or racial gaps in income, education or geography.
For Arlington, though, that's a bridge too far. So, instead of devoting an entire roadway to the nation's preeminent civil rights icon, they're honoring his legacy with 16 tasteful sign toppers.
City leaders are celebrating the sign toppers as a major accomplishment. Mayor Robert Cluck is proud that they will be placed along Center Street, "the center of our community."
Arlington City Councilman Michael Glaspie told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "It gives us the chance to honor a great person who changed our lives." The placement of the sign toppers "speaks to King's can-do legacy."
The Arlington branch of the NAACP isn't so sure. For several years, it has been pushing for a street to be named for MLK. In 2012, the branch was rebuffed in its attempt to rechristen Division Street, by property owners reluctant to change signs and business cards.
Maybe Division Street wasn't the right spot, but those pushing for an MLK street in Arlington make a compelling argument. In a town with a Nolan Ryan Expressway and a Tom Landry Freeway, shouldn't there enough asphalt for a King?
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.
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