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Mesa honors MLK with new street sign, parade

(KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

MESA, Ariz. -- Monday marks a landmark day for one intersection in Mesa.

At 10:45 a.m., just prior to the city's Martin Luther King, Jr. parade, a new street sign will be unveiled, renaming Third Place, between Center Street and Centennial Way, to Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.

John Goodie with the Mesa MLK Committee said this is a historic day in a city where voters repealed the city holiday in 1992, before approving it again in 1996.

"For a city that struggled to pass the holiday, to come full circle is priceless," Goodie said. "Dr. King had a vision of where we are today. We've gotten better. We're not there yet, [but] it's moving in the right direction."

The East Valley Tribune also reported that the area used to be home to a segregated park and swimming pool for the community's black, Native American and Latino residents.

In 1953, residents formed the Better Community Council to eliminate segregation at public facilities and restaurants. The committee's efforts led to integration of the pool.

The Mesa MLK Parade will be held from 11 a.m. to noon, followed by a festival from noon-4 p.m. at the Mesa Arts Center.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.

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