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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MLK in St. Louis

Perhaps my experience of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in St. Louis was epitomized by watching a lone wrecker. The man was palletizing bricks and stoking a bright orange barrel fire fed by millwork and door casements of the building he was wrecking. The cold did not deter his determination to get in a day's work. The building he was wrecking? A commercial building on Martin Luther King Drive.

The scene was a reminder of some harsh realities of this city. Northside laborers, even with skills, are far more likely to find work tearing down their own neighborhoods than rebuilding them. Our city is one of many American cities who renamed a downtrodden thoroughfare for one of the greatest Americans to live, and then did nothing to staunch the decay that dishonors the name on the street. Our city's leaders, black and white, found time on the holiday to pander and squabble while many citizens were busy earning money for food and shelter.

Further west on the street, past Kingshighway, I encountered the relatively vibrant street culture of the Wellston Loop. People were out walking, traveling from store to store. A barbeque restaurant was crowded, with patron's cars spread out over an adjacent vacant lot. New sidewalks were in the middle of construction, and several buildings were amid major renovation projects. That's reality on MLK, too.

5 comments:

john w. said...

The squabbling seems to portend the unwillingness to trust, and therefore unwillingness to progress.

Anonymous said...

After having been burned and abandoned for years, it's hard to trust. It takes years to bring it back. Showing up is a start. How many readers here frequent Dr MLK Blvd?

Doug Duckworth said...

I do, and others, weekly. It's sad seeing the horrible state of it because one can clearly see what it used to be.

john w. said...

will anybody here be attending the event this Thursday?

Andrew J. Faulkner said...

I had intended to celebrate MLK day at Mom's Kitchen but got stuck doing work instead.

But yes, if you haven't been to Mom's you need to. MLK and Goodfellow, just up Goodfellow from the Rexall. And the peach cobbler...