Stretch of County G to honor Martin Luther King
It’s been many years in the making.
But next month, just in time for Martin Luther King Day, Rock County will unveil a memorial to the civil rights activist.
County workers soon will install two signs designating County G between Beloit and Janesville as the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Highway.
County G is Beloit Avenue in Janesville and Prairie Avenue in Beloit. The name of the road will not change.
The signs will be presented Saturday, Jan. 9, at the annual diversity celebration hosted by the Rock County Diversity Action Team and other groups.
Workers will install the signs the next week. They will be formally unveiled at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18, which is Martin Luther King Day.
County Board member Anna Marie Johnson has wanted since 2005 to memorialize King in Rock County, she said.
Johnson, whose district includes Beloit’s Merrill neighborhood, has been frustrated that it’s taken so long for King to get a memorial highway in Rock County. One delay was the fact that some board members said they weren’t comfortable using county money to pay for the sign.
The Diversity Action Team collected $2,460 to pay for installation and maintenance of the signs.
Johnson has been on the county board since 2001 and plans to run again in April. Part of the reason she serves is to bring “into focus” that racism exists in Rock County, she said.
Johnson said it’s important to remember King as an African American who worked for everybody.
“That’s what I would like to be remembered as,” Johnson said. “Working for all the races.”
IF YOU GO
What: Diversity celebration
When: 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9
Where: Blackhawk Technical College, 6004 S. County Road G, Janesville
Details: The program will include music, dancing, food, an award ceremony and local students’ artwork. The Rock County Diversity Action Team will unveil the new signs that designate County G as Martin Luther King Memorial Highway.
To learn more: Visit datrockco.org