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On King Drive, A Dream Deferred

On Monday, the country will officially mark the holiday celebrating the life of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. This year will mark the 40th year after his assassination. His dream of economic and racial equality still lives on. Or does it?

For many living on Chicago's Martin Luther King Drive, the hopes of the slain civil right's leader are more like a dream, deferred, reports CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller.

Timuel Black, 89, has lived on or around King Drive all his life. He remembers Dr. King organizing marches for affordable housing at Liberty Baptist church.

"I think to a great extent, groups that we were fighting for have lost those battles," Black says.

King Drive cuts through historic Bronzeville, where 43 percent of its residents live in poverty, 12 percent are unemployed and the average income per family is just above $27,000.

Black says the decline started in the 1950s when large groups of African-Americans fled the neighborhood's influx of rural blacks from the South seeking opportunity after World War II.

Black adds that the African-American families who left the area were not just economically middle class, but "socially and culturally," too.

That culture clash played out on King streets across the country.

At least 770 roads, boulevards and avenues bear his name, with most running through minority communities in the Southeast.

East Carolina University professor Derek Alderman has been studying King Streets for more than a decade.

"King's name has been seen as stigmatizing," Alderman says. "Opponents fear King's name will not have the same positive connotations that they need for business."

Chicago Alderman Pat Dowell was elected last spring on a platform to revive the area's economy.

"I think it's an uphill battle," Dowell says. "It's not easy."

The public housing high rises that once cast a shadow over King Drive are coming down. In their place, mixed-income town homes and promises of greater economic development. Progress, but not for everyone.

"Some people have been displaced. I mean, change happens," Dowell says.

Building more affordable housing is key to that change, change that will bring business and jobs to the community, she says.

"People deserve to live better," Dowell says.

But it's who is "living better" that concerns Timuel Black

"The lower economic class are worse off than they were during the civil rights movement," Black says.

The dilemma calls into question whether "living the dream" and creating economic progress can be a two-way street.

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