“I’m good on any MLK Boulevard,” rapped Jay-Z on 2018’s “Black Effect.”
He’ll have to be good elsewhere in Kansas City. Less than a year after renaming a major thoroughfare after Martin Luther King, Jr., residents voted to change it back.
Black activists worked for decades to get The Paseo, which runs through a majority-Black neighborhood, renamed.
The city was one of only a few major cities in America without an MLK Boulevard.
The change is “the epitome of White privilege and… structural racism,” said Reverend Vernon Howard Jr., a local Black church leader.
An activist group called “Save The Paseo,” the majority of whom are seemingly privileged white people, successfully organized to put the renaming to a city-wide vote. They point to The Paseo’s historical significance and the fact that Kansas City already has a park named after King.
“For the African American activist, place naming [is about the] right to stake a claim to urban space,” argue scholars that have studied street naming.
Once again we’re reminded that we have to fight for self-determination! “Democracy” has time and time again favored the majority - which in much of America is white.