Jonesboro overpass now honors civil rights leader

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The overpass over Highway 63 on Stadium Blvd. received an honorary name Saturday to show gratitude to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The naming ceremony took place Saturday to officially name the section of Highway 49 the "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Overpass." People showed up to watch the cover be pulled off the sign and to hear a short speech from the chairman of the committee who worked to get the sign and the name to Jonesboro.

"Getting with the state department, getting with the highway department and getting this passed, and now we are at this juncture where we now have a sign," says Rev. Dr. Charles Coleman, chair of the committee who proposed the honorary name.

Coleman says that there where three original proposals submitted to the Jonesboro city council: Option one was to name the Stadium Blvd. overpass, option two was to name a new city street after King, and option three was to name any new bypass after King. After discussion between the council, the committee, and Mayor Harold Perrin, option one was put into motion.

"Diversity in any community is something you want," says Mayor Perrin, "this speaks very highly of Jonesboro because we all worked together."

Perrin says there was a lot of hard work put into bringing King's name to Jonesboro and it finally has paid off, "It is a great day, I know it took about two years but it's done."

A good crowd turned out on the overpass to take in the ceremony and they said this is a great asset for their community, "It's just a day that's been long awaited," says Tannica Gamble, who brought her son out to witness Saturday's festivities, "it will be very good for him when he gets older, he will know that his mom had him here." Michael says he appreciates all that King did for him, "It means a lot to me because he did a lot for our city, and he tried to stop racism from spreading, he let us all be together."

The original idea for a dedication to King came about in 2008.

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