Local News

Some in Rocky Mount Displeased With Return of MLK Statue

Posted May 23, 2007 1:10 p.m. EDT
Updated May 23, 2007 8:18 p.m. EDT

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.