Thursday, January 15, 2009

How about a King statue that actually looks like him?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 10:01 AM

click to enlarge mlk281102.jpg

Today is Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, and I say it's high time Charlotte gave him a special present, namely, a new statue. The city has finally joined a thousand or so other U.S. towns in designating a street after King, so now, can we all get behind finding a replacement for the statue of (supposedly) MLK Jr. in Marshall Park? The sculpture was created in the 1980s by then-80-year-old Selma Burke, originally of Mooresville and ostensible creator of the Roosevelt image featured on the dime. The MLK statue (and I'm being kind) looks sort of like Martin Luther King, but not really — although, strangely enough, it's a dead ringer for a guy I grew up with named Hazel Willis.

Seriously. Charlotte's MLK statue once inspired an unsuccessful effort to replace the head of the full-body sculpture, which, on top of its other distinctions, was named "World's Worst Martin Luther King Statue" in Jerry Bledsoe's book, North Carolina Curiosities. It's simple: if you're going to honor someone, at least make sure that the statue's resemblance to its subject is somewhere in the ballpark.

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