It was a scene that would have made Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. proud – community leaders of all colors gathering at the intersection of Abram and Center streets in downtown Arlington to unveil a new sign to honor his legacy.
Mayor Robert Cluck praised the committee – which featured City Councilman Michael Glaspie and religious leaders – for collaborating on a plan that would honor the slain civil-rights leader.
“The committee met for several months and finally came to agreement on where these would go,” said Cluck. “Everyone agreed with Center Street, including our City Councilmembers. They unanimously said ‘let’s do it.’ They said it was about time.”
The six-foot signs are being posted at eight intersections along Center Street from Randol Mill Road to Pioneer Parkway, which is the heart of the city. Arlington graphic artist Serena Barnett designed the signs.
First Baptist Church pastor Dennis Wiles said Thursday was a perfect illustration of how Arlington has changed over the years.
“This is a beautiful venture between the faith community, city government and the community at large.” said Dr. Dennis Wiles, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Arlington. “I think Martin Luther King would be proud today of Arlington; we’re a cosmopolitan city.”
One look at the ethnically-diverse group of community leaders standing behind the podium highlighted Arlington’s transformation since King’s “I Have a Dream” speech some 50 years ago.
After the short ceremony, six community leaders walked over to the northwest corner of Abram and Center to unveil the sign, and with one fluid pull, the transformation of a portion of Center Street to “Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard” was complete.
“I’m just glad to make history here today in Arlington,” said Arlington resident Delores Williams. “When I first moved to Dallas, I had to sit in the back of the bus. When people look back at today, I want them to remember they were part of history.”
City officials said the signs and honorary designation will not affect the Center Street name or addresses for businesses.
These signs are the second commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The City is also home to the MLK Sports Center on Golf Club Drive.