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Sunday, January 18, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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King County Was Rededicated For Mlk

Did you know King County was named for a vice president and slave owner but was rededicated 12 years ago to Martin Luther King Jr.?

King County was so-named in 1852 when the Oregon Territorial Legislature decided to honor William Rufus DeVane King with a county.

The ousted King, a Southern slave owner, was the vice president to Franklin Pierce, our 14 president. Seriously ill with tuberculosis, this King died in Alabama six weeks after taking the oath without ever having assumed his office's duties.

Support for the proposed name changed, co-sponsored by Democrat Ron Sims and Republican Bruce Laing, was philosophical, as was the opposition, since the change would not affect any county signs or records. They already said "King."

On Feb. 24, 1986, the King County Council voted 5 to 4 to replace moniker with that of the Nobel Prize winner and civil rights leader, assassinated 30 years ago this April.

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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