The five-mile stretch of road includes Martin Luther King Jr. High School, which was named for King in 2001. It’s the only school in Georgia named for King.
The effort to designate the road for King was led by his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and spearheaded by Freddie West, a retired educator.
The designation ceremony, held in partnership with the DeKalb NAACP, took place Oct. 18.
West, 68, participated in a number of anti-segregation sit-ins during the early 1960s when King led the civil rights movement.
He was at the March on Washington in August 1963 and returned to the National Mall in 2010 for the unveiling of the King Memorial.
In January 2011, he worked closely with state Sen. Ronald Ramsey on the resolution that designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
Supporters of the effort had wanted to change the street’s name but did not get a majority of property owners to agree.
The designation does not change the addresses on the street, but it is the first street designated in a middle-class African-American community to King.
Everett Patrick, the Decatur chapter president of Alpha Phi Alpha, said the designation is a dream come true.
“A few years ago, this street designation was just an idea tossed around by a few,” Patrick said. “I am sincerely proud of the part my brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha played in making this idea a reality.”
Lance Hammonds, an Alpha and NAACP member, said the designation offers opportunities to perpetuate King’s nonviolent ideals and advocacy.
“The purpose of the organizers of this effort is to use the designated route as a focal point for promoting the teachings of Dr. King to the youth of DeKalb County.”