Martin Luther King Jr. Statue To Join Confederates At Georgia’s Capitol

NPR – by Johnny Kauffman

On Monday, 54 years after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech and less than a month after a counterprotester was killed following a demonstration by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., a statue of the legendary civil rights leader will be unveiled outside the Georgia State Capitol in King’s hometown of Atlanta.

The state Capitol grounds are dominated by the figures from Georgia’s Confederate and segregationist past, including Confederate general and alleged Ku Klux Klan leader John Brown Gordon and U.S. Sen. Richard Russell, one of the staunchest opponents to the civil rights legislation King advocated for.  

“The King statue will inspire and give hope to generations to come,” said longtime state Rep. Calvin Smyre, a member of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus who helped raise money for the statue. “The day the statue memorializing [King] is unveiled will be a great day in the history of our state and nation.”

The date for the unveiling was set well before the recent violence in Charlottesville, but the symbolism of the King statue has increased with moves to take down Confederate monuments across the country.

As in a handful of states, Georgia activists and politicians pushing to change street names honoring the Confederacy and remove Confederate monuments are stymied by state laws saying they cannot be “relocated, removed, concealed, obscured, or altered in any fashion.”

“I think that this will be a symbol that the state of Georgia is in the business of erecting monuments to deserving individuals rather than focusing its attention on taking down monuments of the past,” said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, who will preside over the King statue’s unveiling.

A Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia has called for giant carvings of Confederate icons Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis to be removed from nearby Stone Mountain, which is sometimes called the Confederate Mount Rushmore.

Deal said he opposes that move, which would likely take lots of explosives, but said it’s time for the state legislature to discuss changes to state law that might allow for other Confederate monuments to be changed or removed.

Over the past three years, Smyre has worked with Deal, the King family and the legislature to plan and raise money for the statue.

The project was delayed in 2015, when the original sculptor, Andy Davis, was fatally injured in car accident. A new sculptor, Martin Dawe, was selected last year.

King was first recognized at the Georgia State Capitol, when then-Gov. Jimmy Carter had a portrait of King installed on a wall near images of previous governors.

The statue of King will sit on the corner of the Georgia’s Capitol grounds, looking northeast in the direction of his boyhood home, Ebenezer Baptist Church where he and his father served as pastors, and his burial site. The statue will be easily visible to drivers on the nearby Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

The statue of John Brown Gordon, who was also a former senator and governor, sits on the northwestern side of the Capitol grounds across from where the King statue will be installed. The Georgia Capitol building sits in between them.

“What [King] had to overcome had been established by John Brown Gordon,” said Georgia State University professor Tim Crimmins. “They’re on opposite sides of the north side of the building, but they represent suppression on the one hand, and the ability, the will to overcome it and the success of it with Martin Luther King Jr.”

6 thoughts on “Martin Luther King Jr. Statue To Join Confederates At Georgia’s Capitol

  1. “legendary civil rights leader ”

  2. I wonder if they are going to include a copy of the paper he wrote in which he plageriized in order to get his doctrine?

    In 1991 a Boston University investigatory committee concluded that King had plagiarized portions of his doctoral dissertation but did not recommend the revocation of his degree:

    A committee of scholars at Boston University concluded that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. plagiarized portions of his doctoral dissertation, completed there in the 1950s.

    BU provost Jon Westling accepted the panel’s recommendation that a letter be attached to King’s dissertation in the university library, noting that numerous passages lacked appropriate quotations and citations of sources. The letter was placed in the archives yesterday afternoon, a BU spokesman said.

    Westling also accepted the committee’s statement that “no thought should be given to the revocation of Dr. King’s doctoral degree from Boston University” and the assertion that despite its flaws, the dissertation “makes an intelligent contribution to scholarship.”

    The investigatory committee, comprising three professors in the BU School of Theology and one from American University, was appointed by Westling after researchers at Stanford said they had discovered numerous instances of plagiarism in King’s work as a graduate student.

    While there was general agreement that King acted improperly, Clayborne Carson, head of the King Papers Project at Stanford where the plagiarism initially was uncovered, noted that King made no effort to conceal what he was doing, providing grounds for a belief that King was not willfully engaged in wrongdoing.

    Westling said in a prepared statement yesterday that it was “impractical to reach, on the available evidence, any conclusions about Dr. King’s reasons for failing to attribute some, but not all, of his sources. The committee’s findings, although important from the point of view of historical accuracy, do not affect Dr. King’s greatness, not do they change the fact that Dr. King made an unequalled contribution to the cause of justice and equal rights in this nation.”

    John H. Cartwright, a member of the committee and Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Social Ethics at BU, said the committee had examined King’s dissertation independently of the King Papers Project and “we did find serious improprieties.”

    The chair Cartwright occupies was created by the Boston University trustees after King’s assassination. Cartwright was entering BU as a seminary student when King was finishing his doctorate.

    “We had many of the same professors, we worked in the same atmosphere during our graduate studies,” Cartwright said, and “under no circumstances would the atmosphere under which he did his work condone what Dr. King did. It’s incredible. He was not unaware of the correct procedure. This wasn’t just done out of ignorance.”

    The committee found that King “is responsible for knowingly misappropriating the borrowed materials that he failed to cite or to cite adequately.” It found a pattern of appropriation of uncited material “that is a straightforward breach of academic norms and that constitutes plagiarism as commonly understood.”

    The letter to be attached to King’s dissertation, Cartwright pointed out, “indicates there are serious improprieties and points readers to sources where they can find chapter and verse.”

    The committee found no grounds for charges raised last year that King drew his organization and chapter headings from another person’s dissertation. The plagiarism, the panel said, was of passages from the works of philosophers whose concepts of God King was comparing in his work. The dissertation is titled “A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman.”

    The committee also found no evidence that the professors reviewing King’s dissertation had a double standard for African-American students and examined their work less critically than the work of whites. “Standards were applied with equal strictness to black as well as to white students,” the panel concluded. “Black as well as white students failed out of the program.”

    Even though faculty supervision of King’s work “failed to detect the large number of uncited borrowings that breached academic norms,” the committee also found, the examining professors were not negligent “according to normal standards of supervision.”

  3. I just don’t like the word ” King”.

    According to what I’ve heard is he liked banging his flock.


    Tear all these statues and monuments down.

    I don’t give a fk…

    I’d rather see statues of Bugs bunny , Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd.

  4. “The day the statue memorializing [King] is unveiled will be a great day in the history of our state and nation.”

    A history of LIES!!! 😡

    King was a shill for the so-called ‘government’, as most of them (‘civil rights’ leaders) were.

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