Should North Dakota Name A Street After Martin Luther King?

martin-luther-king-jr

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 SayAnythingBlog.com. 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.

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