The Perfect Statue of Dr. King, a North Carolina Town's Dream (and Frustration)
What the residents of Rocky Mount, N.C., cannot seem to agree on is the shape of Dr. King's ears or the size of his feet.
The town, 50 miles east of Raleigh, has already taken down one $56,000 statute of Dr. King and may soon vote to jettison one by a different, but equally respected, artist. The City Council voted unanimously yesterday to give that artist, Steven Whyte of Monterey, Calif., one last chance to meet their expectations before they cancel his contract, said Peter Varney, assistant city manager.
"The Council's feeling is that it's still not quite there," Mr. Varney said.
Some see the problem as more than simply aesthetic: they argue that only a black sculptor could capture Dr. King's spirit, and both of the artists hired so far have been white.
The controversy began two years ago, when the town, about 55 percent black and 45 percent white, decided to commemorate Dr. King's November 1962 visit, a trip that culminated in a stirring speech at the local high school. Some scholars believe that speech may have been the first time Dr. King used the phase, "I have a dream."
Prompted by the 40th anniversary of the 1963 march on Washington, business leaders spent over a year raising money to build a park and a statue to honor that chapter of the town's history. The City Council commissioned a larger-than-life sculpture by a renowned Chicago artist, Erik Blome.
Public reaction to the finished work was swift and harsh. Many said that a white sculptor had portrayed Dr. King as arrogant and that the figure looked nothing like the way they remembered him.
comments powered by Disqus
- Zara removes striped pyjamas with yellow star following online outrage
- According To U.S. Big Data, We Won The Vietnam War
- Nearly Every Founding Fathers’ Quote Shared By A Likely Future Congressman Is Fake
- Fareed Zakaria Appears to Have Plagiarized Entire Paragraphs in One of His Books
- Medal of Honor for a Civil War Hero 150 Years in the Grave
- Cornel West and the Insular World of the Obama-Hating Left
- Fox to turn Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “No Ordinary Time” into a 10 hour series on FDR and Eleanor
- Martin Kramer says Columbia University professors claim Israelis are the new Nazis
- Denying Historians: China’s Archives Increasingly Off-Bounds
- Is this the way to teach history? Mark Carnes thinks so.