Skip to main content

Black heritage-themed playground opens at Martin Luther King Jr. Park

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Visitors to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in south Minneapolis got their first look Saturday at its new, black heritage-themed playground.

The new playground was dedicated Saturday afternoon at the park on Nicollet Ave S. to coincide with the annual Celebrate Our Beloved Community event, which focuses on the themes of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement.

According to the Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board, the play equipment includes a replica of the Edmund Pettus Bridge; a climbable mountaintop featuring quotes from Dr. King; a staircase of stacked books by notable African-American authors; and a train with refrigeration cars (which were invented by Minnesotan Frederick McKinley Jones).

"The playground was designed to captivate and inspire children and their parents, providing both fun and learning while strengthening the bond of community and honoring an important legacy," the parks board said.

The playground was borne out of a contentious 2010 plan to create a dog area in the park that split the local community – predominantly along racial lines, as reported by MPR.

The proposal upset some African American residents who consider the park "hallowed ground" after it was renamed in honor of Dr. King following his assassination in 1968, the Star Tribune reports, but the dog park plans made some realize "they'd become complacent about the park."

The newspaper reports that the new playground cost $675,000 – about three times the amount the board normally spends on playground replacements – and despite the park celebrating black heritage, those involved in park improvements are adamant it is an inclusive place for all people.

Next Up


Jason and Carly Zucker sell Edina home for $4.18M

The property was bought in 2020, months after Jason Zucker was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Legacy Lot Random (1 of 6)

Gallery: Luxury living is par for the course here

Cragun’s Golf Resort Communities Offer Stunning Views Along with Resort-Style Living

Screen Shot 2022-08-18 at 8.10.56 AM

Restrictions in place as Emerald Ash Borer found in Sherburne County

The county is now the 36th in the state with a confirmed presence of the invasive insect.

Fire, firefighters

Home that was scene of June standoff engulfed in fire

Authorities arrived to find the home fully ablaze.

Rosland park bridge

Crosstown Hwy. 62 reopens as footage emerges of truck hitting bridge

The westbound lanes were closed in Edina from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday night.

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 8.31.42 PM

Flash flooding as torrential rain hammers Cambridge

Flooding and damage from a non-severe storm Wednesday evening.

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 4.02.18 PM

Minneapolis nonprofit celebrates anonymous donor's $1.5M gift

Appetite For Change is building sustainable, local food systems in North Minneapolis.

police lights

On the lam since 2007, suspect in MN murder case arrested in Florida

The suspect is one of three men connected to a fatal drive-by shooting on St. Paul's West Side.

Deer on road

Motorcyclist in collision with deer dies from injuries

The 55-year-old from Princeton died at a hospital a day after the crash.


Burnsville approves measure that will make its landfill much taller

The expansion will increase the landfill's allowable height by an additional 268 feet.

michael carbo

Northern MN man found guilty in 1980s cold case murder

Nancy Daugherty was found dead in the afternoon hours of July 16, 1986.


What's closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018?

It is a federal holiday, so there will be some closures. Here's a list.

King and queen of Sweden to visit Twin Cities to celebrate Swedish heritage

King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia will visit St. Peter to honor the 150th anniversary of Gustavus Adolphus College, then travel to Minneapolis to dedicate a new cultural center at the American Swedish Institute.