ORANGEBURG, S.C. — When people walk the newly dedicated Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Orangeburg, they're asked to reflect on Dr. King's legacy and the path he paved for civil rights. The city commemorated the street's renaming with a march and ceremony on Martin Luther King Day.
“In a few moments, we’re gonna unveil the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard sign. In honor of a man that dreamed of a way, of a road if you will, that would lead our nation from injustice to justice," said city administrator Sidney Evering.
According to Senator Brad Hutto, the selection of Amelia Street for the renaming was done with intention. Part of the reason is due to the location of the Orangeburg County courthouse. This is where Hutto says the community goes to seek justice, and is a nod to Dr. King's fight against racial injustice.
A monument of Martin Luther King Jr. stands on the grounds of the courthouse.
Further down the street is where you'll find the city's two colleges, Claflin and South Carolina State Universities. Hutto says these are campuses where Dr. King was invited to speak during the civil rights movement. He also visited Trinity United Methodist Church to empower the black community to speak out against racial inequality.
“We must be willing to sacrifice just like Dr. King sacrificed," said SC State university president Alex Conyers.
County leaders say this renaming was a process that took years in the making and was made possible by the vision of former councilman, the late Willie B. Owens.
Owens is survived by his widow Arminta Partridge Owens.
“He would be so excited," said Owens, “Many of the dignitaries of the past from NAACP, civil rights movements came to Orangeburg during the ‘60’s and now that dream has come true.”
Now, Dr. King's imprint will be left behind on the streets of downtown Orangeburg to serve as a daily reminder of his dream.