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Photographing the Streets Named for Dr. King

In the nearly 50 years since his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory has become a part of everyday life all over the United States, from his federal holiday birthday to the countless schools and buildings named in his honor. And in every corner of the country, from Texas to New Jersey, from Washington to Alabama, there are streets named for Dr. King. In 2009, Susan Berger set out to photograph them, collecting more than 60 images made in the in often predominately African-American neighborhoods of major cities and tiny towns.

An exhibition of the series is on view until October 31 at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, in partnership with the University of Arizona Museum of Art. Berger spent two years traveling around the country, photographing the thriving or empty streets she found with the help of Google Earth and a GPS, and looking especially for signs of Dr. King. She found small and large churches, hair salons, taco trucks, fish joints, jewelry stores, parks, museums and businesses named in his honor, and murals featuring King and President Obama. The project, Berger writes in a statement, “explores how we honor our heroes and asks the question to what extent King’s dream has been realized.”

Related Stories:
MLK: Gone But Not Forgotten
Leonard Freed: The March on Washington
Picture Story: A Guided Tour of Poverty in Memphis

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