Local News

Some in Rocky Mount Displeased With Return of MLK Statue

Posted May 23, 2007

A controversial statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is back in a Rocky Mount park bearing his name, but some people are not happy about it.

The statue had been in a warehouse for the past two years after some residents wanted it removed, saying it did not look like the slain civil rights leader. The Rocky Mount City Council used a different artist and another statue sample, but residents did not like that either.

Last week, the Rocky Mount City Council voted 5-2 to place the original statue back in the park.On Wednesday, the statue was placed on its original pedestal at the park without much fanfare.

Opinions on the statue remain divided among residents.

"I think it's fine to put it back up. When it's up, we feel we have the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King," said resident Shirley Jones.

"It hadn't been resolved. It was just rammed down our throats," said resident Louis Turner. "I'm ... the polite word would be 'perturbed.'"

"I'm happy to have the statue back because he deserved it," said resident Jessie Parker.

Elbert Lee, who once walked with King, said the town made a mistake.

"I thought about the words of Jesus on the cross," Lee said. "Father, forgive thee for they know what not they are doing."

Opponents of the statue said they wish there was more communication before the council made its decision.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • salut2daking May 25, 2007

    Do all statues look like a replica of the person? Some do the best they can. It is not an ugly statue. At least he has a statue.

  • .45 May 25, 2007

    This is a prime example of why public funds should never be used for a project like this. When private funds are raised the attention to detail is better and the end result is usually not up for so much debate

    If the leaders of the black community of Rocky Mount have such a problem with the statue then maybe they should raise the funds to replace it.

  • dont_preach May 25, 2007

    JeffersonDavis the statement you made about MLK is the same statement made by the kkk. hmmmm, wonder where you got your "facts"?

  • jedichick May 24, 2007

    Oh I meant to add- I admire Dr. King. Too bad the "Revs" Al and Jesse can't follow his example and lessons.

  • jedichick May 24, 2007

    Well, I walk on the I-440 pedestrian bridge quite often....

    The statue doesn't look a lot like MLK Jr., but it's a nice honor to him. I do wonder what the artist was thinking when it was designed- where there no photos used for resources? Not a great way to spend taxpayer money because of all the disputes. Oh- and I was sorry to hear about MLK's daughter passing away. That's really sad.

  • NCTeacher4327 May 24, 2007

    What happened to, "It's the thought that counts"? The statue is there in memory of King, and everyone knows who it is supposed to be. It's not like they gave him blond hair and a clown nose.

  • baldy1 May 24, 2007

    Thousands of bucks has been spent on this, only God can duplicate the likeness of someone. Maybe they need to dig King up, stuff him and put him on a pedistal, they will have the real thing then.....

  • peppercorns May 24, 2007

    It is in honor of the man... who cares if it isn't an exact replica?

  • bluedevl... May 24, 2007

    As I stated yesterday R.M. is terrible and I hate my tax dollars were spent on this TWICE.

    As for trading the statue for Raleigh's thingy....

    no you can have ours and put it right on top of that HUGE multi-million dollar pedestrian walk-way across 440 that no one ever walks on.

    talk about wasting tax payers money....

  • Glenn Miller May 24, 2007

    Here is a clip from the local birdcage liner, the RM Telegram:

    "Malton Anthony, a regular park walker for more than two years, initially said he liked the "new" statue. But his reaction changed dramatically when told that the King statue is the same monument that sparked criticism because many said it bore no resemblance to the slain civil rights leader....."The same one?" Anthony said. "I think that's a bad idea – it's a symbol of a black man, not Martin Luther King"

    He couldn't tell the difference!!! When he was TOLD it was the same one, he had a problem....but not until he was TOLD......typical RM ignorance.