Just in time to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and national holiday, Georgia’s governor announced the MLK statue will soon be erected outside the Georgia capitol in downtown Atlanta.
Gov. Nathan Deal, Georgias first lady Sandra Deal and the State
Property Office dedicated the newly constructed Liberty Plaza and recognized those who worked tirelessly to complete the plaza
At a statehouse ceremony Friday honoring the civil rights icon, Deal promised a King statue would be built outside the Gold Dome, overlooking the new Liberty Plaza.
The governor called it a “fitting memorial of Dr. King” that, appropriately, will be within view of the busy road that bears his name. The move, which Deal first announced last year and repeated in his inaugural speech, comes after years of lobbying from black leaders to put King’s visage on the statehouse grounds.
Deal signed an order in 2013 to remove a statue of Tom Watson, a segregationist U.S. Senator known for his racist attacks on blacks, several Democratic leaders pushed him to replace it with a statue of King.
“We must come together to do much more than to commemorate the life of a great man,” Deal said in the press conference ceremony. “We gather to rededicate ourselves to the spirit of selflessness by which he lived so that we may emulate his tireless example.”
Some logistics still have to be hashed out. Initial plans have the statue between six and eight feet tall and costing between $100,000 and $300,000. The planners believe the perfect spot for the placement of the statue would be at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Capitol Avenue, within proximity to the new Liberty Plaza, Deal said, but no plans have been finalized.
Christine King Farris, MLK’s sole surviving sibling, remains surprised that a memorial will be erected in the city he was raised in.
“If somebody had told me when we were young, that one day there would be a national holiday honoring Martin and a statue honoring him on the Mall in Washington, I probably would have encouraged that somebody to get help,” she said.