Cities work to restore MLK Jr. boulevards, often sites of violence and poverty

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NEWARK, N.J. — If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were to walk down some of the streets and boulevards named after him today, would he feel proud?

PIX11 News visited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Newark, New Jersey. Community organizer Lawrence Hamm pointed out, “This is a long boulevard and one end goes to one part to the city and another goes to another part of the city, where there are still people living in poverty, so it reflects the kind of dual nature of African Americans today.”

Newark is not unique — the conditions along MLK Boulevards across the country has been the subject of comedy skits from Chris Rock to Saturday Night Live.

Hamm, born and raised in Newark, believes the state of some sections of MLK Boulevard reflects a failure to continue Dr. King’s mission of fighting poverty.

“We still have not realized the beloved community and the kind of society Dr. King was striving for,” he explained.

Despite the challenges along some MLK Boulevards, in several cities ranging from Chicago to St. Louis, there are efforts underway to improve conditions,

Along Manhattan’s MLK Boulevard, also known as 125th Street in Harlem, there are signs of new construction and a growing list of national retailers.