Georgia Reveals Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statue on Anniversary of his Iconic ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech

On Monday (August 28), at the Georgia State Capitol, a new monument paying homage to the late and great civil rights activist and leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., made its public debut. What made the moment even better? His daughter, Reverend Bernice King, was there in attendance, standing beside the statue of her father, beaming with pride and joy that only a daughter can exemplify.

“Forty-nine years ago, when my father was assassinated, he was the most hated man in America. Today, he is one of the most loved men in the world,” Rev. Bernice King said at the unveiling.

Around 800 people were in attendance to celebrate the big reveal of the statue that is located a few short blocks from where King grew up in Atlanta. Governor Nathan Deal, other political leaders, and King family members were among those in attendance.

According to TIME, the installation of the sculpture was endorsed by Georgia lawmakers three years ago and was unveiled on the 54th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington. It also comes amid Confederate statue removal controversies.

Sculpted by Martin Dawe, the 8-foot bronze statue portrays Dr. King mid-walk. On his left arm rests an overcoat and a book of papers is held close to his side.

“Today, we as the sons and daughters of former slaves and former slave owners are here to witness the unveiling of that statue,” Rev. Bernice 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.”

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Atlanta’s mayor, Mayor Kasim Reed, also provided some words during the ceremonious unveiling. “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. 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.”

Reed has also said that Dr. King’s legacy will not stop there. According to the Atlanta mayor, $40 million will be invested in the redevelopment of MLK Drive corridor. Additionally, the $23 million MLK Recreation and Aquatic Center is slated to open in the A at the end of this year.

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Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.