Local News

Some Residents Say Sculpture Does Not Resemble Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted July 15, 2003

— Rocky Mount, like many cities, has a park named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The town also has a new statue honoring Dr. King; however, some people said it does not represent the civil rights leader they know.

"It's a nice statue, but it doesn't look like Dr. King," park visitor Mary Kearny said.

The local Martin Luther King Commission approved the $55,000 statue before the city ever paid Indiana sculptor Erik Blome for the work.

Not everyone is happy with the result. Annette Armstrong's opinion soured the longer she looked at the statue.

"The more you look at it, the more you don't see any similarities," she said.

Pete Armstrong, director of Parks and Recreation, said the statue is one artist's interpretation.

"Some say it doesn't look like him and some say it's the most wonderful thing we've ever done," he said.

The sculptor of a statue in Raleigh saw Dr. King with smoother features, a rounder nose and face. Perhaps more like the images people have seen of the civil rights leader on film and in photographs.

"What I want to see is what I saw on TV," Annette Armstrong said.

"I guess that kind of goes with the territory and I guess the exciting thing to us is that people are noticing and that people care," Pete Armstrong said.

Annette Armstrong and Kearny care enough to want to see a different artist's interpretation of Dr. King.

The city plans to the dedicate the statue on July 19 and has no plans to change it.


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