Johnson City Commission to designate part of State of Franklin Rd. after Martin Luther King Jr.


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- As we mark 50 years since the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an effort to name a road after the civil rights icon will soon be voted on in Johnson City.

On Thursday Johnson City leaders will vote to designate a portion of State of Franklin Rd. in honor of the civil rights leader.

It’s a project Ralph Davis, president of the Johnson City/Washington County chapter of National Association of Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said faced many obstacles.

“We’ve finally come to the point now where it’s going to be adopted, even though we had to change what the commission already agreed to which was University Parkway,” Davis said. “We found out that had already been designated so they came up with an alternative plan.”

In November, Johnson City Commissioners voted to designated University Parkway from Market Street to Interstate 26, to “Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Parkway.”

However, Davis said the city commission recently learned University Parkway had already been designated the Purple Heart Highway, so the city commissioners decided to request another road to designate in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

State Senator Rusty Crowe and State Representative Micah Van Huss sponsored the legislation to designate the area of State of Franklin Rd. from the Bristol Highway to West Market St. as “Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Highway.”

Davis said if the commission passes the proposal, he thinks it would be a step in the right direction for Johnson City.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes here. I’ve seen the progress and the back steps that we made so it’s bittersweet,” Davis said. “We’ve made some strides but we haven’t got to where we need to be.”

Johnson City Commissioners will vote on this project Thursday during their meeting.

UPDATE: State of Franklin signage marks MLK Jr. official designation

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