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The Road To University of Mary Hardin Baylor's Token Road

At the end of the final meeting between Mr. Hill, NAACP, and south Belton citizens, in an effort to rename a street in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mr. Hill of BAACU (Belton African American Churches United), agreed to keep the group informed on street renaming progress after his several attempts failed due to NEW RULES created by Belton city council. 


On the last request for a MLK Street, Belton's all-Caucasian city council and commission which was also majority Caucasian, made recommendation that a non-visible street within the African American and Hispanic community, be renamed as MLK. 

Wanting to see his ambitious dream come to fruition, Mr. Hill eagerly accepts the city council's recommendation of a street location for MLK. However, many citizens felt insulted as the street resembled nothing short of a back alley-way and opposed the offer, voting it down through petition.


In the last meeting with NAACP, Mr. Hill asked representatives what their recommendation for a MLK was. The NAACP state education chair advised Hill that Loop 121, which linked south Belton to north Belton, was the target. Hill reacted by burying his face in both hands, remaining silent for several minutes before responding in agreement. Hill finishes the meeting by commenting he would keep confidential the matter and notify the group on any progress he became aware of.


However, the opposite ensued with the next headline reading how Belton’s Main Street First Baptist Church (which many city council members and staff are affiliated with) and the University if Mary Hardin Baylor (which the First Baptist Church is affiliated with), were all in collusion, in an effort to rename the street in front of UMHB (9th Ave) to MLK whereupon Mr. Hill had filed another request to have 9th Ave renamed.


It is only a question that one must ponder as to why Mr. Hill referred to the NAACP as “Outsiders,” even though Belton, for years, has citizens who are active NAACP members since MLK and desegregation. Even today, new, younger, Belton citizens have joined.  


Even though a defeated Mr. Hill accepted the fact that his city council had renamed over 25 streets for Caucasians with no rules, policy or commission (See information in page below), the renaming of 9th Ave to MLK played right into hands of the city council and UMHB. The struggle against taxpayers to build a bridge that would primarily serve UMHB's new mega-million dollar stadium - now the road/bridge can be memorialized and qualify for  grant funding.


The move also makes UMHB look good after racial comments were made by a UMHB VP during a staff meeting of approx 60 staff. Media outlets would not dare report the VP’s comments and the incident was covered-up. The comments were made during the Paula Deen incident where she suffered a hefty financial backlash.


The 9th Ave renaming to MLK subsequently divides citizens in the area because they were denied their right to voice their concerns that they would have to change personal information to MLK Street (the same reason council used to prevent a MLK street on the south side).


Many senior citizens living in a retirement center were denied their right to vote and participate - their opposition was counted as one vote because they lived in one retirement facility (a new rule created by the city council).


It is only fair to note that to the equality for which MLK stood for and was murdered, DOES NOT and HAS NOT reflected MLK's dream.  To the contrary, the area where his name is to be posted on signage resembles more of an aristocracy and area of the privileged. The street where MLK's name will be emblazoned has:


No African American-owned businesses in the vicinity

No Hispanic-owned business in the vicinity

No African American family or homeowner in vicinity

The street was denied in south Belton where the majority is African American and Hispanic

And while 2/3 of Texas students are minority, at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor - it’s the exact opposite.


The same area's demographics and citizen representation by the same officials, is a direct contradiction and continued example of an exclusive circle of well-connected people. If only MLK’s nieces, who spoke at the event of the street renaming, knew the whole truth of the matter.


One comment made by the president of the same university where racial comments leaked out was, Dr. Martin Luther King being Baptist fits nicely.  

Sadly, after all of the festivities were over, Belton TX remains divided economically, racially and unequally represented as before.


Mayor Jim Covington acts if he can't remember streets renamed in Belton, yet he was on city council and voted to approve many of the streets renamed, including two streets for his Baptist UMHB friends and his First Baptist Church member-friend, former mayor Dwayne Digby.

Feb 2, 2013, Temple Daily Telegram - Paul Romer lies again for the city by stating the only property owner affected in the renaming of University of Mary Hardin Baylor's streets, University Drive and Crusader Way, was the university. There were in fact, seven properties affected in 2006. There was no citizen surveys, commission, new policies created - just like Pro Tem Marion Grayson stated, "it was evident the city needed to develop a process" only when the African American community made the request. CLICK HERE TO SEE PROPERTIES AFFECTED, CONTRARY TO PAUL ROMERS FALSE CLAIM

Belton's city council claims that the survey sheet they invented was a sincere effort by selfless people to "Hear the people's desires" and the process right.  That is by far the BIGGEST CROCK of lies and deception ever told during the MLK effort. When the mega-million dollar, tax-exempt University of Mary Hardin Baylor requested their football stadium be approved to be built in a quiet community, was the neighboring Harris Street community and senior retirement facility sent a survey sheet to "hear the people's desires?" No, officials had no respect, as with the MLK effort, towards the citizens who will have to now endure University of Mary Harden Baylor football stadium's never-ending late night chaos, noise, traffic congestion, trash - a violation to their right to live in peace - as stated in city charter. Where was the survey sheet when University of Mary Hardin Baylor requested to name two streets? Did the council form a commission? No, they hired Paul Romer (PIO) and paid him to lie for them


Owners of only 21 of 37 properties support MLK renaming in Belton BY GEOFF WEST | TELEGRAM STAFF Friday, Feb 22, 2013 4:30 AM

Black church leaders in Belton failed to get 70 percent of property owners along South Davis and Alexander streets to support MLK Avenue.

Belton City council members filled a request for University of Mary Hardin Baylor, with no public input, policy, or commission, to rename two city streets to University Drive and Crusader Way. But, when Belton African American Churches United make their request for one street be renamed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Marion Grayson and city council suddenly have a problem with the request and devise delaying tactics, obstacles and roadblocks that hampers the effort for over one year. Officials decide to create a hand-picked commission with the majority made from friends and associates - there is no balance on the commission with South Belton and African Americans representing the effort. Officials concoct an obstacle by drafting-up new policies, rules/guidelines and introduce a new citizen survey that the African American Churches United must follow. The claim now is to "hear the people's desires."

City Council adopts street renaming policy

by Matthew Girard | Thursday, 06 September 2012

Despite some opposition, the City of Belton moved forward with adoption of a Street Renaming and Facility Naming policy at Tuesday night's City County meeting at the Harris Community Centre.

After the resolution was tabled at the last council meeting to make some minor corrections, the resolution was brought before the council once again, but members of the Belton African American Churches United organization stated that they had been mistreated because its request to rename a street after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would now fall under the adopted resolution.

The new resolution calls for an applicant submitting a petition with a signed approval of 70 percent property owners along the affected street, be willing to pay for the new signs and a $150 application fee.

Although the BAACU supported the resolution, Chairman Rev. Dr. William M. Hill asked the council to exclude this particular name change be exempt from the policy.

"We have no problem with a renaming resolution being implemented, but we want to be under the old one," Hill said.

Hill also said he felt the BAACU had been "mistreated."

Mayor Jim Covington defended the policy and asked that any concessions to the policy be addressed at a later date.

"The intent was not to slow down the renaming of a street after a great American," Covington said. "We recognize the value of Dr. King and we would like to do that. The reason we established the committee was that we didn't know there was an issue. Now we've got an issue and we needed to address it with a policy and that's what we are doing."

Addressing members of the BAACU, Covington said he and the council never intended to "mistreat" anyone with the resolution.

"I'm heartbroken that you feel we have mistreated you," Covington said to the BAACU members. "That was certainly not our intent. We will do what we can to honor the request. However, a request needs to be made under the resolution and then if there is any consideration given to wave the fees, we can look at it at that time."

The resolution passed with a 6-1 vote, with councilmember Wayne Carpenter voting no.