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Petition underway to rename J.C. Nichols Parkway to honor MLK

Posted at 6:31 PM, Nov 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-09 19:31:31-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After a monumental vote overturned the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council vote to rename a historic boulevard to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Tuesday, many others are trying to find ways to honor the civil rights leader.

"I wanted to keep the conversation going the idea of naming the street after Dr. King," Chico Sierra said.

So Sierra wants to rename J.C. Nichols Parkway to honor King.

"I had this question about why we had this street named after J.C. Nichols, that sort of architect of redlining and segregation in Kansas City," Sierra said.

Nichols was a Kansas City developer and helped make the Country Club Plaza, but he also is known for segregating portions of the city by restricting African Americans from owning homes.

It's a street-name change some residents are backing.

"I think it's a heck of a lot better than what they did with Paseo," Kansas City, Missouri, resident Margot Sims said.

Jeremy Taylor, also a Kansas City, Missouri, resident, had similar thoughts.

"As far as the overall what they're trying to do, I think it's a good thing," Taylor said.

Others think it would be another tough battle.

"Paseo was hard, but this J.C. Nichols would be practically impossible because of the history of the city," Kansas City, Missouri, resident Jackie Martin said.

Last year, there were several committee meetings to discuss the best way to honor King, with the Kansas City International Airport and 63rd Street as the top choices. But the city council instead chose The Paseo, the third option, igniting backlash from many who live along the boulevard.

J.C. Nichols is a fraction of the size of The Paseo with it being nearly just seven-tenths of a mile. However, Sierra said it's not just the size of the road that should matter but the meaning behind the name and what takes place near the street.

"Political events held here that have been towards equality and justice and I don't think somebody like J.C. Nichols would have appreciated that sort of thing," Sierra said.

The iconic fountain near the street is called, J.C. Nichols fountain and many also said the name of that should change as well.

To learn more about the petition, click here.