Photos: 60 Streets Called Martin Luther King
Berger reflects on the differences she noticed in the upkeep and centrality of those streets from city to city.
Berger made a point to visit those cities most closely associated with the Civil Rights movements. In some of those places, the placement of MLK streets testifies to his enduring local significance. In Little Rock, Martin Luther King Dr. runs right up against the state capitol buildings; in Atlanta, it’s a long street that cuts through the entire swath of the city, from government buildings to residential neighborhoods, intersecting a range of socioeconomic levels.
But research has also shown that streets named for MLK tend to be associated with "lower incomes and higher rates of racial segregation than city-wide and national norms":
Some of Berger’s photographs, like those she took in Houston, Texas, reflect this truth in broken chain-link fences and abandoned parking lots. In these neighborhoods, the MLK-named streets serve as a reminder of the man himself, and all that he did and dreamed of. “At the same time, though, you look at the neighborhood and say: what has been accomplished? To what extent had that dream been realized?” Berger says.