Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Chicago, IL

Originally named Grand Blvd, and later S Park Avenue (or S Park Way), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Chicago, IL became the first street named after the civil-rights leader, following his assassination in 1968.

The street runs along the south side of the city and is approximately 14 miles (22.5 km) long. MLK Drive is an important thoroughfare in Chicago, connecting the South Side with other parts of the city. The street is home to a diverse mix of communities, including residential neighborhoods, cultural and historical landmarks, and recreational areas.

Image: Wendell Huston, DNAInfo

Today there are over 700 streets named in his honor. Not every name change has been without controversy, however, as Kansas City, Missouri attempted to rename a historic street name, The Paseo, after MLK Jr., to which voters overwhelmingly objected.

Interestingly, while a very common name for a street, there is no single way to describe the road, which can lead to some confusion between cities. For example, while the official name of the street in Chicago is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., other cities, and even different Chicagoans may refer to it as "MLK" "ML King Jr Dr" "MLK Drive" "King Drive", "Martin Luther King". East Chicago, IN refers to their road as "Martin Luther King Dr", omitting the Jr. and Doctor in his name. 

The naming of MLK Drive in honor of Dr. King was a symbol of the city's commitment to civil rights and racial equality. The street is an important part of the city's African American heritage and is a small part of the popular destination for events and celebrations that celebrate African American culture and history in the city.

In recent years, MLK Drive has been the focus of revitalization efforts aimed at improving the economic and cultural vitality of the South Side. The street is home to several businesses, cultural institutions, and public spaces, and is a vital part of the community for many residents of the South Side.

Thanks as always for reading!


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