Bronze MLK statue might stand in commons by May

By Nancy Broten

A $21,000 bronze statue of Martin Luther King Jr., in its second year of planning and development stages, might stand in NIU’s King Memorial Commons as early as May.

The bronze statue will stand 6 feet tall on a 3-foot pedestal near the center of the commons when it is completed.

Larry Robertson, Student Association minority relations adviser, said, “We want a quality product because it is going to be here forever and ever and ever.”

The statue, still in its rough stages, is currently in Pine Bluff, Ark., where it is being worked on by sculptor Ernest Davidson.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Statue Committee has received photographs of the clay model; however, Robertson said he did not think the committee is ready to display the photographs yet.

SA Vice President Cam Davis said, “It’s been a long haul, but the Minority Relations Committee’s concern is that if we bring a statue of Martin Luther King to campus, that it looks like Martin Luther King.”

obertson said, “The sculptor is so used to doing abstract art rather than someone as serious as Martin Luther King Jr.” He said the statue is being delayed mainly because of the difficulty the sculptor is having in capturing the look of King.

“We’re about to get a delegation together to go to view the statue to make proposals about how he should fix it,” Robertson said. Several members of the committee will go to Arkansas to make a final decision of whether the sculptor should finish the statue by applying the bronze coating.

Those going to Arkansas to view the statue are Robertson; Stanley Madeja, College of Visual and Performing Arts dean; Eddie Williams, vice president for finance and planning; and a Black Student Union member, Robertson said.

Financing for the statue already has been allocated into the Campus Activity Board budget, Robertson said. The cost of the statue was divided equally between the NIU administration and student fees, he said.

obertson said the Minority Relations Committee is having success with other projects including the Minority Recruitment Bank which was started in mid-October. The bank accumulates applications from minority students interested in joining campus organizations.