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With One Sign, The Shift from Paseo to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Begins

Michelle Tyrene Johnson
Kansas City, Missouri City Work installs first sign that converts Paseo Boulevard to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard

City workers put up the first street sign in Kansas City honoring Dr. Martin Luther King today. The ceremonial installation made concrete the city council’s decision to rename Paseo Boulevard to honor the civil rights leader.

The sign is at the corner of 34th Street and the renamed street, still called by many “the Paseo.”

Credit Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR
GG Owens attended the installation ceremony, glad that has finally happened.

More than 100 people attended the ceremony. Although speakers referred to the controversy of whether Paseo was the best street to rename, it didn’t appear to interfere with the celebratory yet solemn event.

GG Owens, a resident who attended the ceremony, said that she hopes this decision leads to more local black people being honored in Kansas City.

“Something historical went on today. A lot of pushing and pulling went on. But I’m happy that the sign’s up,” said Owens.

“Dr. King would want us to utilize our collective energy and intellect to address the real and material controversies that are plaguing those who live along Paseo Boulevard,” said Councilman Jermaine Reed, who is running for mayor.

Reed said all Paseo Boulevard street signs are scheduled to be replaced in the next three to six months.

Michelle Tyrene Johnson is a reporter at KCUR 89.3 and part of the public radio collaborative Sharing America, covering the intersection of race, identity and culture. This initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, includes reporters in Kansas City, St. Louis, Hartford, Connecticut and Portland, Oregon. She can be contacted at michelle@kcur.org.

Michelle is a reporter covering race, identity and culture and is an assistant talk show producer.
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