HARRISBURG, PA. -- No Super Bowl was at stake, but voters here, like those in Arizona, have rejected a tribute to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and given rise to charges of racism.

Voters last week narrowly approved a ballot referendum changing the name of the main thoroughfare from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, as it was named by the City Council in 1986, back to Market Street.

More than 10,500 votes were cast, and the margin to revert was 957. This capital city has a population of about 55,000, half of which is black.

"It's unadulterated racism," said the Rev. Jefferson W. Wright, pastor of Second Baptist Church and a prime mover to keep the street named for King. "There is no other reason to change the name."

Wright said that a new effort will be mounted to name another main street for the slain civil rights leader and that he hopes to have another ballot question on the issue next year.

But city leaders and those who worked for a return to the street's original name said race is not the issue, and they are offering compromises.

"We're not racists," said James H. High, 60, a resident of the street who helped organize the name change. "It was Market Street for 200 years."

The issue remains divisive as city officials say charges of racism are being made to promote individual agendas, and King supporters charge that the city and county might have rigged the vote.

Randy King, spokesman for Mayor Stephen Reed (D), said charges of racism are "totally false and being perpetrated by persons with their own motivations."

Wright said, "I think there was manipulation of {voting} machines. The county and city worked hand in glove."

The City Council plans to begin the legislative process of renaming the city's 90-acre Reservoir Park for Rev. King, and city officials noted that, in 1986, City Hall became the nation's only government center named for King.

"It's filthy, it's in a black neighborhood and it's a drug-dealing center," Wright said of the park. He also said City Hall "represents nothing but oppression to black people. In the South, government buildings were places of horror to blacks."