"Sometime in the mid 1990s, I became interested in how many cities have
a street named for Martin Luther King Jr., and how many of these MLK Blvds
seemed to have an awful lot of abandoned property, scary-looking bars, and small
groceries that accept food stamps. I though it would be interesting to do some
sort of book, a photo book, on the subject of this “legacy.” In 2000 we moved to
New Orleans, where I had many, many occasions to drive up and down the length of
Martin Luther King, day and night. Just to give a sense of it: The business I
found most intriguing was Project Food Store, which was just across the street
from a housing project.

Anyway, by that time I had decided that it might be smarter to create a
web site, and turn “MLK Blvd” into a sort of “open source” journalism project —
interested parties could send in their own photos, or histories, or interviews,
or documents. It could be open-ended. It would be a great thing for students of
journalism or sociology or urban planning to participate in. I would be
particularly excited if I could attract contributions from people who actually
live on or near an MLK. Of course what I actually did about this was pretty much
nothing. Except: I did take these photographs, in 2003….
Now I have somewhat belatedly become familiar with Flickr, and decided
upload a batch of my MLK Blvd photos from 2003. These are now part of a "group
pool," and anyone who has pictures — or wants to make pictures — of any MLK
Boulevard, or Avenue, or Street, can contribute."

Rob Walker

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2 thoughts on “MLK BLVD

  1. While I agree that the northern end of Cleveland’s MLK is perhaps the prettiest in the nation, I suggest that you check out Portland, Oregon’s MLK renewal. While still in early stages, it does demonstrate what can be done in rehabbing old commercial strips. While there is not one web site for Portland’s MLK, a Google search will turn up a good bit of stuff.

    If you have not yet looked at it, THE DONE BROOK HANDBOOK (Laura C. Gooch, Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, 2001)has some good info and historic pictures of the Rockefeller Park section.

    Lastly, I believe that John Hopkins, Executive Director of Buckeye CDC, can point you toward info and current/historic pictures of the old Hungarian neighborhood (today a mix of elderly Hungarian and Blacks)at MLK & Buckeye. The Benedictine Monastery/High School(MLK)also has an archive.

    I would love to see the finished project.

    Frank A. Mills
    Urban Paradoxes

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