Dr. MLK Blvd.-The Orlando Times
Eustis City Commission Renames Orange Avenue Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Blvd.
BY LOUIS C. WARD
Photo Cutline: Left to Right Sannye Jones, Tri-City NAACP, Carla Mitchell, African American Heritage Committee, Inc. and Eustis Mayor Robert Morin
EUSTIS - After advocating for a street in Eustis to be named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for more than 15 years, the African American Heritage Committee, Inc. (AAHC), one of the main proponents in Eustis for recognizing the contributions of the great civil rights leader, witnessed their dream become reality, when Eustis City Commission members, community leaders, businessman, and residents participated in the official unveiling ceremony for renaming Orange Avenue Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd Monday, January 9th, 2018.
The memorable event was conducted by Eustis Mayor Robert Morin, with presentations from Vice Mayor Marie Aliberti, Carla Mitchell, and Sannye Jones. Immediately after the presentations, a black cloth was removed from the sign by Eustis Mayor Robert Morin, Carla Mitchell, President of the AAHC, Sannye Jones, President of the Tri-City Branch of the NAACP, revealing a very descriptive and colorful street sign with a photograph of Dr. Martin Luther king, Jr. declaring Orange Avenue, a major thorough fare of Eustis, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
“We can finally acknowledge that Eustis can have a sign designating a street to show our appreciation for everything that Dr. King has done for the world and our community,” Mayor Morin stated. “It took more than 15 years to get this done. We accomplished something today.”
“It’s the right time to do the right thing,” said Vice Mayor Marie Aliberti
It was a long fight, but now we can say we finally have our Dr. King Blvd, like Leesburg and other cities in Lake County, said Carla Mitchell, who has been a supporter for a street to be named after the great civil rights leaders before 2005.
Mrs. Nicie Parks, a AAHC member and community activist, said it was disappointing and a set-back for the African American Community during Black History Month in 2017, when the Eustis commission didn’t rename a street after Dr. King. “However, we were shocked after Mayor Morin said they would revisit the item this year, and the Eustis City Commission voted to renamed Orange Avenue, a major street in Eustis, after Dr. King.”
Community businessman Maurice Hayes from Hayes Brothers Funeral Home, said, “It’s an encouraging sign that we are trying to progress as a community. It’s a big step forward, and I am honored to be a part of this ceremony.”
In his invocation, Reverend Billy Hawkins, Senior Pastor of Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church in Eustis, prayed that God “would strengthen us as a community,” and thanked Him “for what’s about to happen.”