Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mlk Statue Previewed at Gathering

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Mlk Statue Previewed at Gathering

Article excerpt

HACKENSACK -- A 33-inch working model of Bergen County's planned Martin Luther King Jr. monument was unveiled Tuesday to kick off fundraising for the statue that many have said is long overdue.

"I can see that our dream is going to come true; this is the first step in introducing to the public our vision of what this is about," said Theodora Lacey, co-chairwoman of the Bergen County Martin Luther King Jr. Monument Committee. "It's exciting to know it will come to fruition."

The bronze statue, which will be more than 7 feet tall, is expected to be completed by the end of May, and dedicated soon after at its permanent location, on the Hackensack River Pathway as it crosses the Fairleigh Dickinson University campus, said Arnold Brown, who co-chairs the committee.

The small-scale statue shows King wearing scholarly robes and holding a scroll, the ancient sign of wisdom, according to sculptor Richard Blake, and in the other hand a book. He is shown standing on a stone, which Blake said represents King's "I've been to the mountaintop" speech.

More than 100 people attended the unveiling at the Rothman Center at Fairleigh Dickinson.

Although fundraising kicked off Tuesday, the committee has already collected $60,000 toward its goal of $250,000, said Lacey of Teaneck and Brown of Englewood. A portion of the donations will also be used to finance a scholarship in King's name.

Blake, from Pennsylvania, was chosen to design and create the statue after a nationwide search. Brown said the committee received 14 submissions, but Blake's stood out because of its likeness to King and because of its different portrayal of the civil rights leader.

"He is on a college campus, he is open-armed, and he is carrying a Bible, and [wearing an] academic gown, and he has a pleasant look on his face, and that's the kind of image we would like to see at this site," Brown said. …

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