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This week in history: King Drive in Chicago dedicated — but ceremony botched

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., won the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 14, 1964. Four years later, Chicago renamed South Park Way in King’s honor, but Mayor Richard Daley left off a few important people from the guest list.

Mayor Richard J. Daley speaks to crowd at the Martin Luther King Drive dedication.
Mayor Richard J. Daley speaks to crowd at the Martin Luther King Drive dedication.
From the Sun-Times archives

As reported in the Chicago Daily News, sister publication of the Chicago Sun-Times:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., won the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 14, 1964. Four years later, he was honored in Chicago with a street renamed for him.

But Mayor Richard Daley’s dedication ceremony on Aug. 8, 1968 left out key people, according to reporter Betty Washington at the Chicago Daily News.

Washington observed that while almost all of the participants and observers were Black, many had City Hall connections.

“No representatives of Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference were on hand — nor were there many of the little people with whom he identified and tried to reach,” she wrote.

Some suggested that no local SCLC representatives — like Rev. Jesse Jackson — had been invited, but one Daley aide said the invitations arrived late.

Jackson said he considered it a snub.

“I didn’t plan to attend the affair because the invitation in the form of a telegram, arrived less than 24 hours before the program was scheduled to begin,” he said.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story misstated the date of Daley’s dedication ceremony.