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How many streets are named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.?

You’ve probably driven on a road named after the late MLK. But, the number of roads named after him extends far past American streets.

TAMPA, Fla. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most widely-recognized figures from the civil rights movement, and his name can be found on pretty much anything from schools to churches to restaurants. But, there’s one place his name appears most often – streets.

It’s widely believed that Chicago was the first city to rename a street in his honor, several months after his assassination. But, according to an archived article from the Tampa Times on April 11, 1968 – one week after the assassination – Tampa City Council voted unanimously to change the name of Main Street between North Boulevard and MacDill Avenue to Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard.

So, Tampa actually could have been the first city in the U.S. to make the change.

Since that day, more and more streets have had their names changed to honor Dr. King’s legacy. To be exact, there are at least 955 streets in the U.S. named after him, making up more than 22,000 census blocks. There are MLK Jr.-named streets in 41 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Dr. King’s influence spreads far past American roadways. Dozens of streets are named after Dr. King in other countries from Argentina to Denmark, and Madagascar to Germany. According to ShareAmerica, Haarlem, Netherlands, became one of the first cities outside the U.S. to name a street after Dr. King, naming it ‘Martin Luther Kinglaan.’

Just a short trip over to Gelderland, Netherlands, there are two streets that connect, one named after Dr. King, and the other after Mahatma Gandhi. ShareAmerica adds King, who visited India in 1959, was influenced by Gandhi.

But, there’s one country with several streets named after MLK. It’s Germany, and the country has had a special influence on the Kings.

According to National Geographic, King and his father were originally named Michael. When the elder King traveled to Berlin in 1934, he became inspired by Protestant reformer Martin Luther. With that inspiration, he changed his own name, as well as his son’s, who was 5 at the time, to Martin Luther.

Every year, more cities are adding Martin Luther King Jr.’s name to their roadways. However, his name isn’t just a memorial, rather an avenue, literally and figuratively, to create a conversation around building equality and a sense of belonging in America.

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