Council votes to rename section of Charlotte Ave. after Dr. Mart - WSMV News 4

Council votes to rename section of Charlotte Ave. after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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(WSMV file photo) (WSMV file photo)

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in Memphis, Metro Council voted to rename a major section of a downtown street after the Civil Rights leader. 

Anyone eager to grow and thrive in Music City knows location is everything, and Metro Council picked this particular section of Charlotte Avenue, which stretches from 3rd Avenue North to Interstate-40, to rename intentionally. 

"One of the things that Martin Luther King talked about is inclusivity, and that is among social economic statuses, people of all different perspectives and walks of life," said Odessa Kelly, leader of Stand Up Nashville. "I mean, we are talking about Charlotte Avenue. This street hits all of that."

Kelly's group, Stand Up Nashville, represents the city's diverse working class. 

Kelly says she's proud that Nashville will be home to one of more than 950 streets across the U.S. that bear Dr. King's name. 

"When people drive down MLK Jr Blvd., I hope they think about the progression this city has made," Kelly said. 

Historically, streets named after Dr. King have been reserved for smaller areas that are home to more marginalized communities. 

"Most of King's namesakes you don't find in very prominent thoroughfares and high-development areas, so this can be a major change in how King's name is symbolized," said Dr. Derek Alderman. 

Alderman is a Geography professor at the University of Tennessee and is considered an expert in Civil Rights memorials. 

He says Metro's vote tonight answered a big question. 

"What kind of city does Nashville want to portray itself to be?" Dr. Alderman asked. "And to what extent does it invest and embrace a more diverse connection to the past?"

On Wednesday morning, Mayor David Briley will hold a ceremonial bill signing for the resolution passed by Metro Council to honor Dr. King. 

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