Letter: Buffalo should have an MLK Boulevard

Letter: Buffalo should have an MLK Boulevard

Robert M. Silverman
Publication Year: 2019

Repost from The Buffalo News


On Nov. 5, in a shameful move, voters in Kansas City chose to remove Martin Luther King Jr.’s name from one of its main thoroughfares. I found this disheartening. What were they thinking? Voters in Buffalo wouldn’t do something like this. Then, I realized that Buffalo is one of the only major cities in the country without a thoroughfare named Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. There are more than 900 streets named after MLK in the country, but there is no major street honoring MLK in Western New York.

Granted, in many places MLK Boulevard is found in the poorest section of a city. This is one instance where Buffalo’s late arrival to the party can be informed by mistakes made in other places and turned into an opportunity to do better.

Main Street in Buffalo is known as the dividing line between the predominantly white West Side of the city and the predominantly black East Side. It is time to change this image, erase this dividing line, and transform it into a symbol of unity. Buffalo can do better than places like Kansas City. Buffalo can send a message to the rest of the county that its central corridor is no longer a dividing line, but a place where the entire city comes together.

It is time for the Mayor’s Office and Common Council to come together and formally put a referendum on the 2020 ballot to change the name of Main Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Why not?