People can't decide which side of town Kansas City's MLK Jr. Blvd should be on

Streets named after Martin Luther King, Jr. are often found in majority-black neighborhoods. And more often than not, they’re so run-down that the name is not just a stereotype — it’s a punchline.

by Dexter Thomas
May 2 2018, 12:50am

Most large cities have a street named after Martin Luther King, Jr.

Kansas City, MO, doesn’t — at least not yet.

For years, residents have been trying to change this. Now, thanks to a coalition led by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, it looks like an MLK Jr. Blvd is finally coming to Kansas City.

The trouble is — nobody can agree on where to put it.

Kansas City is one of the most segregated cities in the United States. A road called Troost Avenue famously splits the city in two; the east side is mostly black, and the west side is overwhelmingly white.

Under the current plan, a long, iconic boulevard on the black side of town would be renamed for King. But a lot of people, black and white, would prefer it be placed elsewhere.

It's turning what seems like a simple proposition, recognizing a civil rights icon, into a complicated discussion about race and boundaries — both the metaphoric and the literal.

VICE News traveled to Kansas City to see how a major American metropolis is deciding what honoring Dr. King looks like for them.