The Indianapolis Star has an article today about plans to remake Indianapolis’ Martin Luther King Park. The park is most likely the most inspiring place in Indianpolis. It was there on 1968 that Robert Kennedy campaigned in the Indiana Democratic Presidential primary after recieving word of King’s assassination. King’s death had not been announced to the general public. (Here is a blog post I wrote last year about April 4, 1968 in Indianapolis).
I hope the project gets done. With all the war memorials and conservative revisionist history around here, Indy deserves a monument and park like this.
My problem is the direction of the neighborhood. This working class black neighborhood is being taken over by rich white folks. Its great that people want to move back into the city and there should be room for everyone. But, these great old northside neighborhoods have a history of gentrification, which is the displacement of poor and working class long-time residents by the moving in of affluent people who value the neighborhoods proximity to downtown and its old houses.
The real and symbolic importance of this event and park lose all of its meaning if this neighborhood continues to gentrify? As a now six year old report from Improving Kid’s Enivonment warns about the neighborhood,” “Gentrification Threatens to Drive Property Values Up and the Residents Out.”
If the Kennedy-King neighborhood gentrifies (which is already happening), won’t the real meaning of April 4, 1968 be lost?
Kennedy and King didn’t die so that rich folks could displace poor and working class folks…