Should North Dakota Name A Street After Martin Luther King?


The Fargo Forum has a story about failed efforts in the past to rename a street or bridge after civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. The proponents of doing so, while quick to suggest that North Dakotans aren’t necessarily racist, it proves that they don’t sufficiently “identify” with King.

The whole thing seems a little silly to me.

I don’t think I need to extol Dr. King’s virtues. He was a valiant crusader for racial justice, and a figure Americans ought to look up to in modern fights of civil rights. In fact, those of us defending our civil right to keep and bear arms should look to King for inspiration and guidance.

But King wasn’t from North Dakota. I’m not sure he ever even visited our state. Unless I’m missing something, there is no connection between North Daota and anything in King’s life and accomplishments. So what’s the point in naming something here after him? Are we to do it just because?

That does seem to be the argument. A few activists get it in their mind to name something after the great man, and suddenly anyone opposed is not showing sufficient reverence to the civil rights hero (and might just be a little racist). It’s the worst sort of knee-jerk, “do something” activism. The proponents of this nonsense can say that their commitment to civil rights is greater than ours because they want to honor Dr. King by naming some random street in Fargo after him and we don’t.

It’s childish.

Dr. King should be honored, but the property venues are the places where he lived, the places where he gave his great speeches and took his historic stands. Remember him there, not in Fargo and especially not to satisfy the glib motivations of a few fools with nothing better to do with their time.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

Related posts

  • awfulorv

    Of course that’s it, “character”.
    That’s the reason we see casts of, 25%-35% of black folks featured on TV sitcoms, though they constitute 13%-15% of the population.
    Blacks are possessed of more “character” than whites, orientals, or American Indians.
    Though you have to wonder whether the actors, other than blacks, don’t have rent to pay, and like to eat once in awhile, too?
    I guess they’re out of luck unless, and until, they address their “character” issues.
    And the ads, my goodness, how genuinely happy the black, and white, couples seem to be in each others company, Almost like a fairy tale of racial harmony.
    And has anyone reminded “Flo”of her extraordinary luck in her continued employment, what with her clinical white outfit, and all?
    And the Sheriff, Judge, Mayor, Doctors, all the power roles, are portrayed by blacks, just as in real life.
    And now we have a twice elected half-black POTUS and he, his wife, and various uncles, and aunts, STILL complaining of discrimination?
    I think I’ve found the reason.
    The American blacks have looked to Africa and have noticed that if you apply enough political pressure, violence, and terror, to the whites they, as has happened in Kenya, Zimbabwe, and is now occuring in South Africa, will give up the homes, and farms, they’ve lived on for three, or four, hundred years, or take the risk of being jailed, beaten, or killed.
    And they now expect you, dear friends, to give up your abodes, acreage, and mineral rights, and move back to Norway, Germany, Finland, even Greece.
    And, it would be nice, as they say, if the door didn’t hit you in your arse, on the way out…