With Confederate monuments and their dangerous antiquated symbolism having been thrust into the limelight recently, the thought of statues was becoming synonymous with the racially motivated controversy. Fortunately, a new statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. outside the Georgia Capitol in Atlanta has served as a comforting reminder that not all statues are bigot-related.
The 8-foot statue has been over three years in the making. On Monday, 800 people showed up for the unveiling of the bronze
"This tribute is important and a lasting statement about the value of inclusion, the strength of our diversity and the power of grace and how it changes hearts," Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said at the event. "This statue comes at a time when there are many conversations about historical monuments going on nationally and within the state. When the time comes, I'm confident in the city of Atlanta that we will walk it together as we have again, again and again."
MLK's daughter the Rev. Bernice King also spoke of her father's legacy at the site, which is just several blocks away from his childhood home.
"Forty-nine years ago when my father was assassinated, he was the most hated man in America," King said. "Today, he is one of the most loved men in the world."
The statue reveal came on the 54th anniversary of King's vision for a fairer America in his iconic "I Have A Dream" speech at the March on Washington.
"Today, we as the sons and daughters of former slaves and former slave owners are here to witness the unveiling of that statue," King continued. "It is a glorious and grand day in the state of Georgia and in the United States of America and all over the world."
In April, the Memphis Airport added a historical marker in remembrance of the final flight that landed MLK at the Tennesee airport. Just days after his arrival he was murdered outside of the former Lorraine Hotel in Memphis. April 4, 2018, will mark the 50th anniversary of the icon's death.