NAACP Says It's "Disappointed" Local Street Will Not Honor MLK - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/29/05-Pittsburg

NAACP Says It's "Disappointed" Local Street Will Not Honor MLK

The small town of Pittsburg operates just like any free society and members of the Camp County NAACP says it should honor the man that lived and died for the cause.
 
"Most towns in East Texas have streets named after Martin Luther King," says Darnell Thomas, member of the Camp County NAACP.
 
The intersection of Jefferson/Quitman and Mt. Pleasant/Rusk, which runs through the heart of historic downtown, and Texas Street were the three options where the name change would be made. But Monday night's city council meeting marked the end of the road.
 
"I told them I didn't want to change any street in the city," says Pittsburg Mayor D.H. Abernathy. "Because I have the history of all of them when they first started and people giving 20 feet on each side to widen the streets and all that. You change it and call it Martin Luther King, Jr. you lose all the history behind that."
 
Mayor Abernathy says some local businesses that operate on the proposed streets also expressed opposition to a name change, saying there would be significant costs such as changing company letterheads, business cards and licenses. "There are costs in every change. Something that is worthwhile costs," says Camp County NAACP member Thomas Hall.
 
The mayor says the town would be willing to put a memorial in place to honor Dr. King. "In a location that is prominent and a lot of people pass," says Mayor Abernathy.  But the NAACP says it wants a more level playing field.
 
"It's not that we're not interested in [a memorial]. It just seems like every time we get together and come up with something it seems like the powers that be are against it," says Camp County NAACP President Patrick Lloyd. "We have a lot of local people here that happen to be descendents of Anglo-Saxons that have streets named for them and even the mayor has a street named for him and we don't think he's important to the history of the world a fraction of what Martin Luther King did," says Thomas. So the streets signs will remain as they are in Pittsburg, but in the spirit of Dr. King the local civil rights group says it will fight on.
 
The NAACP says a memorial is not completely out of the picture but it is tossing around more ideas for Dr. King to be honored in that area.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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