Martin Luther King Jr. statue unveiled at Georgia State Capitol

A new bronze statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was unveiled Monday at the Georgia State Capitol as cities around the country are talking about whether or not to take down certain monuments and statues.

A huge crowd gathered to see the unveiling of the statue, including King’s only living sister, Dr. Christine Farris King, and his youngest daughter Bernice. The statue was announced three years ago.

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Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed spoke about the effort and patience that went into erecting the statue. They talked about how at this time in our country the statue is symbolic of a path forward in healing racial division.

Dr. King’s great-niece, Farris Christine Watson, talked about what the honor means for her family.

“Just to see a statue, and it overlooking his birth home, his church, his street, you know,” she said. “And then to be recognized by a capitol, especially with what we’re going through now in our country, it just means a lot.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the 8-foot-tall sculpture is visible from at least two blocks away, along the boulevard named for the civil rights icon.

“He’s gazing slightly toward MLK Boulevard,” sculptor Martin Dawe told the AJC. “You make people smile not by the mouth but by the eyes, so I have a slight glimmer that I hope comes through.”

Reed promised a $40 million investment in the MLK corridor and more dialogue about the Confederate monuments.

“We were savoring today and enjoying the moment but, as I’ve said, we’re going to set up a commission and over the next 60 days we’re going to have a conversation about Confederate monuments in our own city,” Reed said.

More than 1,000 people attended the unveiling. Bernice King said this day was a long time coming and that on this 54th anniversary of her father delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech that her father remains a light to a peaceful path forward.

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