Kansas State University and City of Manhattan officials held a ceremony Friday to officially recognize the changing of 17th St. to Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
The event took place where the newly named street intersects with Anderson Ave. in front of the K-State Alumni Center.
Kevin Bryant, a Martin Luther King Memorial Committee chairperson who helped lead the effort to change the street name, says he is proud of what his team and those before him have accomplished.
“There’s a connection in this city from 17th Street to Yuma to Kansas State University and the connection is strong,” Bryant said. “I’m just proud to be part of that whole team that put it together and chose everybody and we are proud of what we have done here.”
Mayor Wynn Butler says that while the government has approved anti-racism and anti-segregation laws over the years, it is on individuals to make sure King’s vision continues.
“Personal bias, [which]may be embedded in all humans, is one that will not change by government edict, but is the task of each individual,” Butler said.
Bryan Samuel, K-State chief diversity and inclusion officer, says the change continues K-State’s track record of being on the right side of history.
“We all know the history of Kansas State University being a land-grant university that was open to all students, without regard to race, color or creed, as far back as 1863 and our graduates being individuals of color as early as 1905” Samuel said.
When the city authorized the street-name change in February, K-State agreed to allow the portion 17th St. running through its campus to also be called Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.
New street signs have been put up at every Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. intersection except for at Anderson Ave.
The city will install the final sign at that intersection on Monday, March 8.
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