New Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard signs mark first step toward peace in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the second time, new street signs are going up in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Kansas City.

Until this point, Kansas City was one of the largest cities in the U.S. without a road dedicated to the Civil Rights icon.

“Think about this as a part for the movement for peace for all of us,” President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Rev. Vernon Howard said.

Howard said the signs are not only a symbol of peace but also unity, acknowledging the 2019 movement where the decision to change Paseo Boulevard to MLK Boulevard was ultimately reversed.

He said it’s not about what’s different this time, but what’s the same.

“What other city in the country needs it more than Kansas City? The same is there is still a need for this. There’s still Black children, young people that need that education and that symbol. There is still violence that is running rampant in our community and we need that message,” Howard said.

Along with the 37 new street signs, the KC Parks Director announced $1 million in investments along the stretch.

“I was kind of disappointed they took it off the Paseo, but I’m glad they renamed it a stretch from the Plaza to Eastwood Trafficway. Now we have something we can own,” said owner of E.B. Fish & More, Rhonda Williams. “It makes me feel really good. I didn’t know we had MLK Boulevard.”

“I’m very happy. They needed to change the name. I mean the man did so much,” said Bruce Hodge, a longtime resident of Kansas City.

Howard, who helped spearhead the newest signage change, said although this is the first step toward peace, this is only a small step toward progress and movement in the city.

Next, the group plans to call for a cease fire that will begin June13 and lasts until July 4. More info on that will be released in the coming days.

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