Controversy still travels down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, formerly Airport Road, one year after the Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously voted for the name change and ended an 11-month debate.
The street formally was dubbed its new title last May on the 45th anniversary of King's visit to Chapel Hill, but it was on Dec. 6, 2004 that the council received a standing ovation for its decision to proceed with the renaming.
Fred Battle, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said he is "still elated about it."
He represents the voice of many residents who think the name change was the best way to remember the historical figure.
"It makes me feel good to live in a community that commemorates the civil rights movement," said Yonni Chapman, a committee member. "I think many people in the community feel it was about time that Chapel Hill honored Dr. King."
One year later, former council member and committee member Joe Herzenberg said that with more time the community gradually will grow to embrace the new name.
"As with anything of this kind, there are still plenty of people who call it Airport Road." Herzenberg said. "Increasingly over the years, people will begin to forget Airport and think Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard."
"Whenever I drive by and look at the signs, I feel good."
Unveiling of MLK Jr. Blvd street sign in Chapel Hill, 2005.