Monday, July 6, 2009

MLK BLVD Project

For about five months I lived in a flat on Martin Luther King Road in Lusaka. I immediately associated it with the Martin Luther King Jr boulevards, streets and ways that I'd been to over the years: Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Oakland, New Orleans. In the US, naming a street after MLK is about creating a symbolic connection between black neighbourhoods and a city; a repudiation of centuries of apartheid policies.

In Lusaka, Martin Luther King Road is in affluent Kabulonga, home to a disproportionate number of white expats, NGO workers and upper-middle-class Zambians. Our neighbour had cousins, sons and nieces spread across the world studying or running businesses in Australia, Texas and the UK.

In the style of many southern African neighbourhoods, MLK Road Lusaka is completely surrounded by glass topped walls, heavy metal gates and underpaid security guards from nearby townships. Most of the landscaped area between the walls and the drainage ditches that abut the tarmac is kept immaculately trimmed by a squad of blue-coverall wearing young men. They cut the grass, bent over double, with blunt scythes.

The MLK BLVD project is a blog of crowdsourced photos from different Martin Luther King roads, boulevards and ways from across the US and the world. It's really worth looking at.

It's also making me really regret not taking better pictures. I basically have only a photo of my gate during a hail-storm. If anyone has better photos I suggest you upload it to the MLK BLVD project Flickr pool. Also, I seem to remember many African cities having MLK roads, photos of which would probably ad great perspective to the project.


  1. Nevermind the Zambia miss, I propose a road trip! So many photos yet to be taken!

  2. Nice post - mlk pictures ..Keep Posting

    mlk pictures