CHICAGO (CBS) — Del-Kar Pharmacy has been a staple in the North Lawndale community for more than five decades, but many Chicagoans don’t know the drugstore’s connection to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Edwin Muldrow runs the pharmacy today, but it was started by his father, Edward, in 1960. While Del-Kar was the Walgreens for the community back in the day, most don’t know that the it was the spot where Dr. King came every morning to get his newspaper.
“That was part of his daily routine,” Muldrow said. “We’re just excited to be a part of, as my dad said, one of the best kept secrets!”
But Attla DuPree, who has been a resident of North Lawndale since 1947, is in on the secret. In fact, she was standing across the street when Dr. King moved in on Hamlin.
The building was just one block away from Del-Kar Pharmacy, on 15th and Hamlin. Now, that same spot where Dr. King and his family lived in a third-floor tenement, is home to the MLK Fair Housing Exhibit Center.
“He [Dr. King] came here the summer of 1966,” said Kim Jackson, Founder of the MLK Fair Housing Exhibit Center. “He brought his family here and he wanted to shed light on the deplorable housing conditions that were happening in Chicago.”
The housing complex was built by Lawndale Christian Development Corporation and is part of the MLK Legacy Apartments.
“My goal is to continue the dream that Dr. King started here in North Lawndale, and make people aware that he did live in Chicago and to develop programs for the youth in the community, to carry on his legacy,” said Program Director Larry Dixon. For information on volunteering opportunities, contact Dixon at (312) 610-3802.
Just as the center carries on the legacy of Dr. King, Muldrow said he has no plans to ever leave North Lawndale. Rather, he’s planning an expansion. Del-Kar Pharmacy, located at 3726 W. 16th, is the oldest, black owned drugstore in the city of Chicago.