You are on page 1of 12

Street Names and the Scaling of Memory: The Politics of Commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr.

within the African American Community Author(s): Derek H. Alderman Reviewed work(s): Source: Area, Vol. 35, No. 2 (Jun., 2003), pp. 163-173 Published by: Wiley on behalf of The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20004306 . Accessed: 23/02/2013 11:41
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

.
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.

.

Wiley and The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Area.

http://www.jstor.org

This content downloaded on Sat, 23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . street naming. revealing 'the character Embedded into language. 215). identifies with and in which 'people questioned.2. like all places of country (Alderman 2000). EastCarolina University. Although largely neglected meanings of street-names' (1996. Iexplore the politics of naming into the present. American social landscape'. Foote 1997. or came debates the past (Johnson 1995. negotiated process of constant mediations'.ecu. competing inter Introduction ISSN 0004-0894 ? Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2003 This content downloaded on Sat. These streets are increasingly common commemorative street names (like other place names) features in cities across the United States. monolithic group. Jrwithin the African American community Derek H Alderman Department of Geography. Yeoh characterized the street renaming project as 'an Memorial landscapes and spaces play a central role uneven. and the degree to which the street transcends the spatial confines of the black community. According to Azaryahu. are open to multiple. USA Email: aldermand@mail. (Azaryahu1997.a socially contested process of determining the geographic extent to which the civil rights leader should be memorialized. Greenville. they represent 'significant variations in the commemorate into ordinary settings of human life. the street's level of prominence within a hierarchy of roads. commemoration. Debates over the scaling of King's memory revolve around the size of the named street. they are active participants of both the figure commemorated and the community in the construction and perception of social reality. Jr. 305-6). commemorative street To advance the literature on commemorative naming is an important vehicle for bringing the past street names further. As public conflate history and geography andmerge the past they symbols. Analysing these intra racial contests allows for a fuller appreciation of the historical consciousness and geographic agency of African Americans rather than seeing them as a single. A street-naming struggle in Eatonton. scale. African American pretations of the past (Charlesworth 1994). that has honored him' (Stump 1988. challenged. 481) King's name was attached to 483 streets in the street names. Till up with alternative readings of both the forms and 1999. streets after slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Georgia (USA) exposes how the scaling of memory can become a point of division and contest within the black community as activists seek to fulfil different political goals. in shaping how the public values.edu Revised manuscript received 12 Feberuary 2003 Streets named forMartin Luther King.163-173 Street names and the scaling of memory: the politics of commemorating Martin Luther King. This paper analyses the politics of naming these streets as a 'scaling of memory' . Jr are common yet controversial features in cities across the United States. Given the problematic Commemorative nature of collecting such data and the popularity of memory. NC 27858. Key words: United States. by scholars until recently. Martin Luther King. Crampton 2001).Area (2003) 35. By 1996.

as they see it. Not until recently have they considered how geographic scale is constructed and reconstructed through social practice and political struggle (Herod 1997. as an historically discriminated social group.a socially contested process of deter mining the geographic extent at which the civil rights leader should be memorialized. As Smith (1993) found in his study of New York City's homeless. El). who theorized about the role of capital in constructing and manipulating scale. are rarely so dualistic. of being associ ated with the black community (Alderman 2000). This paper contributes to these studies by exploring how geographic scale constitutes and structures the politics of commemorating the past. particularly streets (Cohen and Kliot 1992. Scholars have traditionally thought of scale as a static category for organizing space. Myers 1996. Marston 2000. I interpret the naming of streets afterMartin Luther King as a 'scaling of memory' . Herod (2001) has shown how ordinary people can significantly reconstruct the spatial extent or reach of their activities and activism. changed the streets' symbolic meaning from being a point of African American pride to what one news reporter referred to as a 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams'. Olsen and Timothy 2002). Mitchell 2002). The growing pre valence of Martin Luther King streets should not divert our attention away from the controversies and struggles that often surround the naming process. Many whites do not personally identify with King and public opposition often leads to the confinement of his name to minor streets or portions of large streets inAfrican American areas of the city (Towns 1993). construct the geographic scale of King's com in conflicting ways. specifically how the memorialization of Martin Luther King can become a point of division and contest within the African American community. Geography figures prominently in debates over how best to commemorate King. they sup port the renaming of major thoroughfares that cut through prominent business districts and unite white and black communities. Smith and Dennis 1987). The use of degraded and obscure streets to keep the memory of King alive has. The renaming of major thoroughfares is frequently disrupted by the protests of the street's business owners and operators. A growing number of geographers are examining the spatiality of public memory (Johnson 1995. the current number of streets is likely much higher. as well as spatial patterns of commercial development. however. the politics of remembering the past are not just shaped by ideological struggles between social groups but also struggles within those very groups (Graham and Shirlow 2002. black and white Americans hold strong and often competing opinions about the historical importance of the civil rights leader and thus collide over selecting the most appropriate street to identify with him (Alderman 2002). I am interested in under standing how African Americans.whether King's memory will transcend traditional racial and economic bound aries or simply reinforce their social importance. embracing different political goals. monolithic group. who are often misrepresented as a single. My first is to provide background on how the objective This content downloaded on Sat. place naming involves a complex. Azaryahu 1996 1997). As he first suggested in this journal several years ago. another reminder of continued inequality and repression (Yardley 1995. Leib 2002) and the cultural politics of naming places. The struggle to define the geographic scale of King's commemoration through street naming is often viewed as inter-racial in nature. Analysing these memoration differences allows for a fuller appreciation of the historical consciousness and geographic agency of African Americans. Building upon the work of Smith (Smith 1984. marginalized populations can use scale as a political strategy for bringing legitimacy and public visibility to their cause. 23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . who cite the financial costs of changing their address and the social stigma. many African American activists argue that Martin Luther King was important to all races and hence should be placed on streets accessible and visible to everyone in the city (Osinski 1999). The politics of place naming. Of particular interest is how black activists. Dwyer 2002. struggle to create and control the geographic scale of recognizing King and. Consequently. in some instances. intertwined set of social and political relations (Berg and Kearns 1996). For instance. Few studies have sought to unravel the political struggles that surround this new commemorative practice or the locational dynamics underlying these struggles. This paper has two major objectives. people show great sensitivity to the location of racial communities. the achievements of all blacks. in turn. geographic scale is made (and remade) through everyday social practices of cooperation and competition (Herod 1991). in turn. This paper seeks to analyse the intra-racial politics of commemorative street naming. When choosing a street to name or rename for King.164 Alderman the commemorative practice. No doubt. In this paper. Instead. This scaling of memory determines. More over.

they have not fully explored the idea of 'scale as a relation between geographic totalities' (1998. In 1990. As suggested by Schudson. with a commemor ated person or event. level and relation. the controversies they face and the ultimate locations which these streets occupy (Alderman 1998). The movement to memorialize King and the civil rights movement is affecting not only the names attached to streets. is based upon research in newspaper and government archives and intensive personal interviews with African American leaders in the community. 23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . It isone case study in a much broader effort to examine the role of African Americans in naming streets for King. Georgia (USA). Analysing King streets is an important entry point to understanding how blacks struggle to incorporate their achievements into the nation's collective memory. and shaped by.Street names and the scaling of memory politics of naming streets for King are played out in. in large measure. King streets have a similar double-edged nature. in doing so. Street naming is a potentially powerful form of commemoration because of its capacity to make certain visions of the past accessible to a wide range of social groups. which dates back to 1993. My second objective is to present a brief empirical illustration of how African American activists competed with each other in determining the most appropriate scale at which to memorialize the civil rights leader. In contrast. In doing so. museums. by address. My work in Eatonton. Inmany instances. the populations who will be touched by the memorial meanings being communicated. While both leaders defined the King legacy in a very positive light. As Smith argued. By expanding the scale of memory or increasing the geographic extent of commemoration. In terms of size. social actors and groups hope to make images of the past retrievable or available to a larger array of publics. white-dominated conceptions of the past that frequently ignore these contributions (Rhea 1997).as it relates to streets and roads . the city witnessed a public struggle between two African American leaders. the size of a street determines the sheer number of residences and businesses identified. struggles to construct the geographic scale of public commemoration. He noted that while geographers generally recognize scale in terms of 'size' and 'level within a hierarchy'. thus limiting the extent towhich traditional historical interpretations and valuations can be challenged and changed. Addresses are essential to daily activities and represent an important way of inscribing commemorative meanings into a multitude of urban practices and narratives (Azaryahu 1996). O'Meally and Fabre noted a significant need for research that identifies and analyses African American 'sites of memory' (1994. 114). a restriction in the scale of commemoration can decrease the retrievability and accessibility of the past.can be difficult. The scaling of memory through street names can also be defined in terms of level. Iargue for a more critical understanding of differences and divisions within African American memory and activism. Scale is an intrinsically important facet of memo rializing the past and bringing significant public attention to the historical contributions of African Americans (Alderman 1996). Depending on the location and spatial extent of these streets. 160). itmust reach the person' (1989. The geographic scale at which memory is produced (or commemoration is carried out) determines. but also the geography of statues.sometimes at the historical neglect of lesser-known activists. 3-4) or places where blacks invest the past with great symbolic and political significance. As Azaryahu pointed out. there is often a This content downloaded on Sat. Defining the notion of scale . scale has a 'double-edged nature' and can be constructed to both constrain identities as well as enlarge them (1993. Armada 1998). exposed a tension between exterior and interior uses of the past within the black community. heritage trails and festivals (Gallagher 1995. The case study focuses on a street-naming struggle in Eatonton. Howitt identified three facets of geographic scale . they can represent an expansion of African American influence and cultural expression or a reinforcement of the boundaries that have traditionally constrained black identity and power. retrievability is an essential factor in shaping the ultimate power or influence of a cultural object or practice: 'If culture is to influence a person. particularly women (Dwyer 2000). the scaling of com memoration can refer to the length or width of the named street. King has become an official icon of the civil rights movement and black heritage in general . 50-2). specifically the street's level of prominence within a city's hierarchy of roads. With the establishment of federal and state holidays in his honour.size. preserved sites. 165 Importance of scale to commemoration The naming of streets forMartin Luther King is part of a largermovement in the United States to affirm the historical importance of minority groups and challenge traditional. they offered dramatically different street-naming proposals and.

This content downloaded on Sat. because cities often develop (intentionally and un intentionally) in segregated patterns. 325). In this case. The city of Keysville is largely African American (more than 75%) and the larger county is almost 50 per cent white. A18). the com memoration of King at an inappropriate scale of prominence represented a degradation of his memory. As indicated by Greshman. African American activists hold strong views about constructing the geographic scale of King's commemoration relative to the size of the named street and the street's perceived level of prominence. When commemorating King. African Americans are often concerned about the location of the named street in relation to the white community and the extent to which the street serves as a geographic bridge the importance of between races. the scaling of memory through street naming is inherently political because people hold multiple and sometimes conflicting ideas about the public relevance of King's achievements. InAthens. Street names have a connectivity that allows them to touch the consciousness of social actors and groups who may or may not identify with the person or event being remembered. a major commercial thoroughfare. 23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Kelley (1994) and Goings and Mohl (1996) emphasized the importance of seeing blacks as active cultural and political agents who mobilize to reclaim streets and other public spaces as a means of redefining social and political identity. This was certainly the case in Keysville. These scholars also pointed to the important role that divisions and contestation play within the black community. specifically the scale of race relations that would be embodied along the renamed road. African American leaders found little opposition when they renamed a street for King within the city limits of Keysville. African Americans living along Reese Street opposed identifying King with their street. In Sylvester. This decision limited the geographic scale of King's commemoration. 3A). Accompanying naming a long and prominent thoroughfare is the equally important desire to name a street that reaches beyond the confines of the black community. deteriorating neighbourhood (Towns 1993). I think having a road in a low class neighborhood named after King is offensive' (quoted in Davis 2002.166 Alderman positive correlation between 'the strategic importance of a thoroughfare and the prestige of the associated commemoration' (1996.. He considered the thoroughfare an 'appropriate street' to rename because its central location and high volume of traffic would ensure that King's name would be seen by many people. fre quently travelled street would represent a larger and more significant scale of memorialization than a small side road because of differences in the amount of public exposure and visibility that each road brings to a memorial cause. The leader of the street naming campaign rebuked this counter-proposal and was quoted as saying: 'I think Dr. King meant not only to his race but to America' (quoted in Atlanta Constitution 1989. African American petitioned the city council of Danville. Emma Greshman. Keysville's mayor. Differences inAfrican American memory and activism Debates over where to commemorate Martin Luther King are not just between whites and African Americans. two black city council members voted against a street-naming proposal when they learned that King's name would be placed in a poor. Georgia (USA). Georgia (USA). However. be renamed in honour of King. Ultimately. King should have a major road . However. InMarch of activist Torrey Dixon 2002. asking that Central Boulevard. they encountered intense resistance when they sought to have the road renamed across the entire county from one boundary to another. To conduct an analysis of these struggles requires a critical understanding of African American memory and activism.. Virginia (USA). thus reducing the scale of public identification and interaction with a commemorative naming. As the case study in the next section will illustrate. The geographic scale of commemorative street naming can also be defined in relational terms or the extent to which a named street creates associ ations or linkages between different people and places in the city. black leaders may disagree with each other about what constitutes an appropriate scale of memorialization. county commis sioners voted against the extension of Martin Luther King Road. The proposal failed and officials suggested renaming a smaller street that had served as a focal point for members of the local civil rights movement when King had visited Danville in 1963. which they described as 'unknown' and 'drug infested' (Alderman 1996). A prominent. reacted to the county commission vote by saying: 'Thewhites who protested the new name need a little more knowledge about what Dr. not all streets cut across and connect diverse populations. even when the street in question had a strong historical association with the civil rights leader. Georgia (USA).

The goal is to educate a larger. health services and other aid to the poor. Clark (2000) has examined. African Americans are bicultural. She has spent over a decade protesting the conversion of the Lorraine Motel .Street names and the scaling of memory As Tuck (2001) recently noted in retracing the history of the civil rightsmovement inGeorgia (USA).the site of King's assassination . the Lorraine should have been converted into a centre to offer housing. even amongst his most devoted supporters. accommodationist views to more radical calls for change. for example. Georgia (USA) tried to bar King from preaching in the city. according to him. While this duality between interior and exterior helps us understand how blacks and whites remember and represent the past differ ently. Smith emphasizes the civil rights leader's concern. SCLC focused on April 4. debate. Consequently. The marginalization of King has even been inscribed into Savannah's civil rights museum. On the other hand.like all historical reputations (Fine 1996. 125-6). Black activism. The two parties even differed on when to commemorate the civil rights leader. instead. Even Martin Luther King holds a complex and sometimes contradictory place in African American history and culture. They feared that the civil rights leader's presence might antagonize local authorities and disrupt an already successful protest movement. During the civil rights demon strations of the 1960s. the museum says little about King's accomplishments and stresses. Interior interpretations of the past are those produced by African Americans about their own experiences. According to her. Smith was the last resident of the Lorraine before its closure. They also 'provided crucial forums for African Americans to reflect.one white and one black. can be defined and carried out in different and conflicting ways. African Americans also participate in an interior or internal mode of commemoration in which King's image is used to inspire fellow blacks and give them a sense This content downloaded on Sat. local activists and struggles during the Movement. While the museum focuses largely on King's contribution to racial integration. race-bounded views of history and society. She argues that the museum does not embody or truly commemorate the ideals and beliefs of King. In assessing the commemoration of African American memory. The King family preferred the birth date on January 15 (Daynes 1997). Jacqueline Smith is a more recent example of intra-racial division over how best to memorialize King. living in two American cultures . education. In some instances. who would have never allowed low income people to be displaced for the purpose of building a memorial and tourist attraction (Jones 2000). This competition became evident immediately after the civil rights leader's assassina tion in 1968. African Americans participate in an exterior or external mode of commemoration inwhich King's image is fashioned for consumption by non-blacks as well as blacks.white-dominated American culture about the historical importance of King and his social philosophies.into the National Civil Rights Museum. the remem brance of Martin Luther King operates on at least two different levels within the black community. Ruffins (1992) made a distinction between interior and exterior views of the past. Emancipation Day celebrations in the years immediately following the Civil War. black leaders in Savannah. As Ruffins (1992) pointed out. 23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and enact their own versions of history and plans for the future' (Clark 2000. the date of King's death. integration takes a back seat to blacks developing their community institutions and a sense of psychological empower ment. it can also shed light on commemorative complexities within the African American community. On the one hand. An African American commemorative culture existed long before the emergence of King as a national icon. The exterior or external mode is characterized by an emphasis on using King's memory to challenge prevailing. the commemoration of King can be inter preted as a forum or arena for African Americans to present and debate their interpretations of his legacy as they articulate future political visions for the black community. job training. While the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) sought to honour their fallen leader through increased social activism and protest. Although located on Martin Luther King Boulevard. King's legacy . for issues of poverty and economic inequality. In speaking about the memory of slavery and the evolution of black progress. the struggle for racial equality does not follow one normative pattern. Schwartz 1997) . Correta Scott King placed more emphasis on establishing the King Center inAtlanta. Following the lead of Clark (2000).is open to competing inter pretations and constructions. Exterior interpretations originate from outside the black community. Georgia 167 (USA) and establishing a holiday in her husband's memory. These ceremonies represented more than a shared affirma tion of the importance of black freedom. later in his life. a range of African American voices could be heard at these gatherings from conservative.

The black activists involved streets are in places with populations ranging from in honouring Walker . Eatonton is noted for being the birthplace of although there is no direct evidence to suggest that authors Joel Chandler Harris and Alice Walker. 41 per cent of these street to name for King. Drive. While the Remus Tales were told by a constructing his commemoration at a geographically gentle black man and dealt with racial struggle in expansive scale. Alice Walker Drive Putnam County. Alice Walker was identified with 2000). challenged Americans to confines of the black community. embodies the docility and humorous in their own also about (re)educating minorities innocence of the Sambo stereotype. Essential to 1944) constructed a different and perhaps more enacting an 'exterior' view of King's contributions is complex image of rural black life in her book. Indeed. Public recognition of Walker repre state of Georgia (USA). The Color Purple. The following case think more critically about divisions and struggles study illustrates how the tension between these two memory/scalar perspectives can drive the politics of within the black community. and Georgia . took on even greater popularity and stereotypical A potential tension underlies commemoration as proportions when Walt Disney adapted it into an African Americans negotiate between interior and animated film titled Song of the South (Kesterson exterior uses of memory. Street the author's name should adorn a street restricted to naming in the southeastern United States occurs most the black community or one that reminds the entire often in places where African Americans constitute at city of her accomplishments. Jr. is best known for writing the Uncle community rather than presenting a multicultural Remus Tales. both This content downloaded on Sat. Interesting enough. the elderly narrator of cultural recognition within the larger society but these tales. Harris' writing heritage and cultural worth. Walker in 1985. Harris retold the 'trickster' folktales lesson for non-blacks. closely parallels Martin Luther King. The Color Purple.disagreed over whether size of a place with a King street is only 5595. African American author Alice Walker (born are ideas about what constitutes an 'appropriate' scale at which to memorialize the past.King's home state led the nation with the largest number of such Walker Drive is also significant because it exposed the African tension within streets (72) in 1996. Blacks comprise 59 per cent of Eatonton's a residential road populated largely by African population and 30 per cent of the population of Americans. abuse and the sexuality (Gaffney 1989). which is located in the central part of the means of making their accomplishments visible on the landscape. a constructing a role model for the African American white author. while an sublime. Uncle Remus. The establishment of Alice American South. King street naming occurs in a commemorative small towns as well as large cities in the South American community. the landscape is per naming process. Rhea (1997) asserted and fables of plantation slaves. From monuments many other towns that have engaged in the street festivals and business names. Although seemingly small sented an attempt to rewrite Eatonton's symbolic and obscure. In Georgia. Implicit in each perspective 1989). the median population in King's commemoration .many of whom participated 2500 to 9999. Indeed. also made activities within focusing commemorative into a widely popular film. From this perspective. The city of Eatonton named a road for Alice naming streets forMartin Luther King. metaphorical terms. As would become the least 30 per cent of the total population (Alderman case with King. Eatonton is actually representative of to and museums landscape. Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908). Georgia (USA) Walker further establishes the symbolic importance that African Americans attach to place naming as a Eatonton is a town of 6764 people (2000) in Putnam County. which were acted that the growing movement to commemorate minority out by animal characters such as 'BrerRabbit' and contributions is not only about achieving historical 'Brer Fox'. representation of black culture and history in the leader is more about remembering the civil rights United States. This tension resurfaced and became more clearly defined when selecting a (Alderman 2000). it does emphasize the importance and value of spatially work dealt directly with issues of violence. By the same token. five years before dedicating a street to Martin Luther King.168 Alderman to the of whom made significant contributions of racial pride and identity. Walker's protagonist 'interior' view does not necessarily relegate the civil (Celie) and central characters were women and her rights leader's memory to obscure places. Well over three-quarters of all Martin Luther King streets are located in the meated with references to the legacy of Joel Chandler Harris and Uncle Remus. The naming of a street for Street naming in Eatonton. 23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .

Farley is a prominent leader in the Putnam County African American community. not long before the emergence of the King street-naming issue. Rice showed great concern for how King's commemoration would focus and inspire the black community: 'If naming the street after King hasn't done anything else. emphasized 'Concord ran all the way through the county to Pea Ridge Road near Highway 441'. Promoting an interior interpretation and use of the past. councilman Rice the size of the street. a group of African Americans led by Fannie of the Pearle Farley . Black city councilman Ulysses Rice. He represented the renaming of Concord Avenue as a way of focus ing the black public. Martin Luther King Drive stretches over four miles. Rice added. 7 October 1990). From Rice's point of view. but were from within the African American community. in 1986. To emphasize the relative prominence of King Drive. In 1990. if they don't know anything else about Dr. it did not go unchallenged.requested that King's name be attached to a road more prominent than Concord Avenue (Eatonton City Council Minutes.Street names and the scaling of memory influenced the the honouring of Alice Walker location of King's street (Figure 1). which indicated almost unanimous support for the name change. were submitted to the city council in sup port of the request made by Rice (Eatonton City Council Minutes. Indeed. Farley had a history of being heavily involved in commemorative issues. King. the city council officially changed the name of Concord Avenue toMartin Luther King. he said: Helping to keep King alive in Eatontonwas a way of showing a person the great opportunities that await black people. it has pulled people together who want to live in a decent neighborhood. Farley presented the This content downloaded on Sat. The primary opponents were not local white citizens or other city council members. they know his name is on a street nearby. an American Legion post and the Ebenezer Baptist Church. 7 November 1990). For example. Like Rice. (Rice 1998) Although the naming of Concord for King progressed rather quickly. In January of the previous year. the scale of the named street was appropriate for what he envisioned as its political and social purpose. To mobilize support behind the renaming of Concord after King. On 15 October 1990. it gets drilled in them. Concord was a main residential artery in the African American community as well as located near an elementary school. the road had taken on great symbolic importance as part of the route for a 'Freedom March' held on the Martin Luther King holiday. her American Legion Auxiliary erected a monument on the courthouse lawn to honour veterans (Eatonton Messenger 1986). then vice-chairman of the local chapter of the NAACP of for the Advancement (National Association Colored People) and a former college classmate of King. Participants assembled at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. 4 September 1990). marched to the county courthouse and then returned to the church for a three hour memorial service inwhich a pastor re-enacted King's 'IHave a Dream' speech (EatontonMessenger 1989).who could care less. a funeral home owned by Rice.Drive (Eatonton City Council Minutes. 15 October 1990). In the case of Eatonton. 'most of the houses (along King Drive) are fairly decent by black standards' (Rice 1998). He stated. The idea of naming a street inmemory of Martin Luther King made its formal appearance during an Eatonton city council meeting on 4 September 1990.former vice-president American Legion Auxiliary . Black people have a place to be proud of' (Rice 1997). On this point. On 7 November 1990. In 1981. particularly children. Black kidswould have an opportunity to drive down the street [KingDrive] and remember the things that black people can achieve. Jr. the NAACP voted her one of the ten most influential women inMiddle Georgia.Everyday they ridedown that street. 23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . For example. geographic scale figured directly in how activists conceptualized and carried out the campaign to commemorate King through street naming. in explaining his support for renaming Concord Avenue. Rice and other members of the to residents NAACP distributed a questionnaire along the street asking if they were in favour of the name change. Results of this questionnaire. This emphasis on the street being evaluated by 'black standards' is impor tant to our discussion because Rice advocated that 169 the geographic scale of Martin Luther King Drive be limited largely to the spatial confines of the black community. Even little children. on King's importance and the larger achievements of African Americans. discussed the possibility of renaming Concord Avenue for the civil rights leader (Eatonton City Council Minutes.When programs are held at the school. con necting black residential areas of varying value with rural dairy farms. She asserted that King was an important symbol and that placing his name on a major road would project a more positive image to those living in the town and to the larger outside world.

Inc. Georgia.170 Alderman 0l0onee St \ Brer Rabbit Statue (2) Uncle Remus Museum (3 Uncle Remus Golf Course Producedby:Nathan Wood Figure 1 Selected streets and landmarks inEatonton. 23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . USA Source: Mosher-Adams. (1993) This content downloaded on Sat.

The street Jefferson proposal. street naming in Eatonton was the bypass proposal also failed because of plans to name the highway after a still living and very popular characterized among African by a tension city official. 1 11). shopping and advocating a scale of commemoration that honours driving along it. Ultimately. which now runs around the western edge of it. a more appropriate street for King. In challenging the attachment of King's name to emphasizing the importance of naming a street that Concord Avenue. Fannie Pearle Farley coun city with a flag that had been flown over the United tered by suggesting that the geographic scale of States Capitol (EatontonCity Council Minutes. Responding community] full credit for its achievements.After all. as she saw it. in her opinion. The second was the then-uncompleted Highway 441 is people going through Eatonton can't see [King Drive] bypass. Because of Farley's previous leadership in street naming should extend beyond the black community. Yet. The would be visible to and touch white residents and visitors. She stated: firstwas Jefferson Avenue. she felt compelled and commemorative priate scale at which to commemorate King. In building her conception of an appro issues. Farley justified to approach the city council to express an advocated an exterior use of memorialization. benefited from the 1). While Rice is and use the street by simply working.Street names and the scaling of memory 171 achievements of blacks. communities that residents and businesses located Unlike Rice. people don't know it's there. 23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Where it is now. racially diverse street would agree to a where it is does not give the community [the black to resistance toward the renaming. street naming was a way (renaming a street) down anybody's throat if they of bringing the importance of King to the attention don't want it' (quoted in Eatonton Messenger 1990. When asked whether she spatialized politics embodied in place naming can thought the street-naming campaign had been a have a dramatic effect on the geographic scale at which King is ultimately commemorated. This view reflects an assumption found inmany civil rights leader's achievements along with blacks. James Marshall. one of the town's major thoroughfares and a national highway (Figure 1). one white city councilman everyone. since it is success. Farley stated unlikely that all (if not most) of the stakeholders No it wasn't because havingMartin LutherKing Drive on a large. In fact. In this respect. her notion of geographic scale is con along the street in question should have a dispro cerned less with the size or length of street per se portionately strong influence on the approval or and more with its ability to transcend racial bound revocation of a name change.(Farley the new bypass would avoid some of the political 1997) controversy that results from renaming a street. The renaming of Jefferson Avenue was magnitude of King demands that a prominent street be quickly dismissed by the city council because of the named after him. Farley suggested that naming should have gone throughamajor thoroughfare. who. 5 March 1990). not one stuck in the black area of unlikelihood of gaining the support of the street's town. The 'segregation of memory'. the traditional lines of residential segregation. Debating the merits of Americans between using the geographical scaling of King's memory as a device for challenging and naming the bypass for King was further complicated of whites changing the historical consciousness by the fact thatMarshall was well liked by the black in Eatonton. alternative vision of how best to commemorate King. (Farley1997) responded by stating: 'I don't want to shove this From Farley's perspective. Farley was versus using it as a means of consolidating and community unsuccessful in convincing the city council to place focusing the black community ideologically. Concluding remarks While Ulysses Rice argued that a largely African Street names are important memorial landscapes that American street was an appropriate geographic scale for commemorating King and representing the play a key but under-analysed role in the contested This content downloaded on Sat. Farley offered two alternatives. of whites. King did not fight just for blacks but for white population. As Berg and Kearns pointed out. King's name on a different and. The the town. The problemwith Concord Avenue Signs are important. Farley the politics of naming places are 'both a politics of is advocating that the scale of King's com space (deciding who names and controls space) and memoration should be constructed in such a way a spatialized politics (whereby the spatial defines as to break down what Rhea (1997) called the who has legitimacy to speak)' (1996. Left out of this per aries and hence create relations between different with spective are the voices of people who identify groups of people within the city.

gender. D H 1998 Creating the politics University Jr Unpublished A street a new geography (re)naming (USA) dissertation fit for a King: America's of Texas violence Gaffney Carolina Gallagher tion and Southern and tragedy University E 1989 Walker. place. 1989 1 Urban Geography 4 September 5 March 1991 City Council Minutes Barry Schwartz for reading and commenting on earlier 1 986 set EatontonMessengerl Monumentdedication 2 January 6 Eatonton Messenger Eatonton Messenger for King 18 October Freedom march 19 January 1 1990 Group asks to have street renamed author 4 September and the memory Journal of Sociology landscapes of of and manuscript. Davis Daynes T 2002 G freedom: Emancipation memory F ed Where 107-32 Day celebra grow: tions and African American in Brundage W Press. A 2001 Political Geography road proposal Register & Bee 6 March 1997 Making Garland J 2000 2002 McCarthy. King's legacy is open to redefinition not only by opponents to his political/social philosophy but also people who unquestionably embraced and benefited from this philosophy. comments Nathan I also Wood owe and Donna provided provided a debt of G'Segner drafts by the thanks Alder of this two to memory. and southern identity Universityof North S B and Kliot N 1992 Place-names the Administered The Voortekker rejects MLK 1 3A A villains. Geography. in a Georgia Armada county Historical agon: Geography an 30 99-120 tour of the B 1998 Memorial interpretive National Civil RightsMuseum Southern Communication Journal 63 235-43 Atlanta Constitution 1989Whites inBurkeCountywin fight over renaming Azaryahu Azaryahu Environment M street names: road 13 January Al 8 of commemorative D: Society reunification and Space and street names 14 311-30 of 16 the politics Geography and Planning 1997 German M 1996 The power the case of East Berlin Political R A 1996 Naming 479-93 Berg New Space L D and Kearns Zealand 14 99-122 A 1994 Contesting Environment places of memory: D: Society the case of and Space as norming: D: Society 'race'. As with any historical figure. Chapel over Hill in the early reconstruc these memories history. of American and beyond Council Geographers in Israel's ideological Annals of the 82 65 3. memory Dwyer 0 Martin Luther King. As illustrated in the case of Eatonton.172 Alderman process of attaching meaning to the past. However. the helpful reviewers. and the identity politics of naming places Environment and Planning inAotearoa/ and Charlesworth Auschwitz 12 579-93 and Planning Clark K 2000 Celebrating tion South Carolina Cohen struggle Association Crampton apartheid. I also suggested that black leaders hold multiple and sometimes competing views about the civil rights leader's legacy and hence the most appropriate scale at which to honour him through street naming. This is not to minimize the importance of examining com memorative struggles between black and white Americans and those occurring within the white to community. assistance. of civil 52 660-71 23 31-56 15 October Acknowledgements I appreciate anonymous cartographic Andy man Herod. Ihave suggested that geographic scale is an important factor in shaping political struggles over public commemoration in general and in particular. Jr represent one of the most widespread and controversial products of the ongoing US movement to recognize the historical contributions of minorities. Chapel the case of Southern Press. Jr. References Alderman D H 1996 Creating (re)naming a new geography in honor 36 51-69 of memory after Martin of Department naming in streets of memory in the South: Alderman Luther Alderman of streets Geographer of of Martin Luther Farley F P 1997 Telephone Fine G A 1996 Reputational incompetence: 101 Foote 1159-93 K 1997 Shadowed melting images of President interview with entrepreneurs supporters.Memorial as memorial Journal 60 109-19 This content downloaded on Sat.80 the birth of 20 221-46 Danville Territories Monument. particularly African Americans. memory. rights memorial Eatonton 1990. Austin C R and Ferris W of North inWilson culture of Georgia Encyclopedia places South Professional arenas: the University D H 2000 and commemoration Geographer Alderman 52 672-84 D H 2002 in the American Street names V J 1995 Remembering of the Martin Communication together: rhetorical integra Luther King. making heroes: Joseph R. this study sought some basic assumptions about how challenge heritage and history are divided along racial lines. African Americans may advocate interior or exterior scalar constructions of King's commemoration depending upon their immediate political goals. Recognizing King's commemoration that differences and divisions exist in African American memory and activism. and the politics of American Publishing. Jr. reputational politics of commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. Streets named for Martin Luther King. 7 November landscapes 1990. Press. 23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . JrSoutheastern the South: King. Dwyer valuable 01 and conflict Professional politics. Interpreting Location. Harding American ground: Alice Hill 898 King. partisan warriors. New York the civil rights movement: Geographer and the production 1990.

GA J 1995 Boulevard of broken dreams Atlanta Constitution 15 January El of nationhood in Singapore Area 28 298-307 differing Research of Mormon Yeoh B S 1996 Street-naming nation-building:toponymic and inscriptions This content downloaded on Sat.London87 119 Smith N and Dennis W scale: Stump coalescence RW 1988 1987 The restructuring of geographical and fragmentation Toponymic the past: of the northern core MonumentAvenue. Joel Chandler Hill 885-86 shared spaces: Arthur Ashe.Street names and the scaling of memory Goings W and Mohl K R A eds 1996 The new African American Oaks The Battle of the Somme 21 881 labour of in O'Meally O'Meally Osinski Rhea R and Fabre G 1994 R eds History The many Introduction 173 in Fabre G and urban history Sage. Interview with Interview with I T 1997 Race pride and University Rice U 1997 Rice U 1998 Ruffins author 5 September author 15 March and history: African Amer inKarp I. and the in the past versus as a cultural I International the past in the present Communication Schwartz Lincoln 1 1 105-1 3 system: Abraham Journal of Sociology Johnson N C 1995 Cast ism Environment Jones III J P 2000 The street politics of Jackie Smith and Watson S The Blackwell companion to the city Black and the black C R and and Social Smith N 1984 well. Washington 506-611 Schudson M 1989 The present B 1997 Memory inWorld Policy War 17 22-58 development: nature.Virginia's Cultural Geographies9 286-313 symbolic landscape Marston Human Mitchell S A 2000 D 2002 West The social construction 24 219-42 space. New York as relation: musical metaphors of and Lavine S D eds Museums and communities: scale Area 30 49-58 in stone: monuments. Robertson scaling places in Bird J. inWilson Uneven Oxford productionof space Basil Blackwell. the G and Tucker L eds Mapping W Ferris Encyclopedia of Southern cultureUniversity of North Carolina Leib J I 2002 Press.Curtis B. Chapel times. 1993 regional development Geography at identity and Erinnerungspolitik Berlin's Neue Wache 6 251-83 Journal for racial Press. Beyond Atlanta: the struggle of Historical City of Eatonton map Eatonton. Oxford 448-59 Kelley R D G 1994 Race working Kesterson rebels: culture. capital.Kreamer CM the politics F D 1992 Mythos. memory. geography. 17 January Al the American MA identity Harvard Press. tory labour. Journal H R 1993 Back streets get King's name Atlanta S G N 2001 inGeorgia. and placing 87 237-46 G 1996 Naming the other: power Voor Economische urban landscape inZanzibar Tijdschrift en Sociale Olsen Geografie views 27 7-15 D H and Timothy D J2002 Contested heritage religious heritage: Tourism Recreation Athens. Cambridge. and controlling scale: migra in the 28 63 of scale Progress in Geography regionEconomicGeography 63 160-82 commemoration and King Names landscape of national 36 203-16 cultural figures: the cases of Kennedy Till K E 1999 Ecumene Towns Staging Controlling Journal designs. politics. New York D B 1989 Harris. GA The Putnam and the Constitution30 October A3 Tuck equality Yardley 1940-1980 University of Georgia Chamber of Commerce. New York 3-1 7 of MLK Atlanta identity Political of scale Geography inUnited and 904 Herod Herod A 1991 The production A 1997 Labor's spatial States relations Area 23 82-8 praxis the geography longshore contract 1953-89 Herod Howitt bargaining Political in the US East Coast Geography 16 145-69 workers and the landscapes industry. American 84 Mosher-Adams County Myers Inc. Smith N 1993 Homeless/global: Putnam T. Separate futures:local culture. and and Planning D: Society and Space in Bridge G of public culture SmithsonianInstitution Press. A 2001 Labor geographies: Guilford Scale R 1998 ican preservation efforts. 1820-1990 of capitalism geographical national 13 51-65 Press. class Free Press.global changeRoutledge. Thousand Graham B and Shirlow and P 2002 Ulster memory and memory signs in African-American Journal culture Oxford B 1999 Constitution U n iversity Press. and the politicsof Richmond. free speech. 23 Feb 2013 11:41:50 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .