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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Sculpture, Charlotte

  • Type

    Sculpture

  • Subjects

    Historic African American Figures

  • Creator

    Selma Burke, Designer

    Selma Burke, Sculptor

  • City

    Charlotte

  • County

    Mecklenburg

  • Description

    The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Statue is located in Marshall Park in Charlotte. The statue is 8 feet tall and depicts King with his left foot raised onto a step and his right arm outstretched, as if reaching for something. He stands atop a stone base with each side bearing an inscription. The monument was dedicated on April 5, 1980, during a ceremony in which Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., Governor Jim Hunt, and creator Selma Burke spoke.

  • Inscription

    Front of base: 1929-1968 / DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. / WHO DARED TO MAKE THE AMERICAN / DREAM OF FREEDOM FOR ALL / AMERICANS A REALITY / THE MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. MEMORIAL COMMISSION

    Right side of base: SCULPTOR / DR. SELMA BURKE 1980

  • Custodian

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg County

  • Dedication Date

    April 5, 1980

  • Decade

    1980s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.219420 , -80.838340 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "MLK Statue in Charlotte," YouTube video, posted by NCphotogSeth, October 14, 2011, (accessed June 12, 2014) Link

      "Martin Luther King, Jr., (sculpture)," Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog, #IAS NC000057, (accessed June 4th, 2014) Link

      Grooms, John. "Charlotte needs to replace 'World's Worst MLK statue'," The CLOG (Charlotte, NC), January 7, 2011, (accessed June 4th, 2014) Link

      Mecklenburg County, NC Park and Recreation, “Marshall Park,” (accessed March 16, 2014) Link

      Roadside America, “Unloved MLK Statue,” (accessed June 4, 2014) Link

      Soul of America, “Charlotte Cultural Sites,” (accessed March 21, 2014) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze

  • Sponsors

    King Memorial Commission

  • Monument Cost

    $68,000

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    The monument was unveiled on April 5, 1980 in Marshall Park in Charlotte. Three thousand spectators crowded around as a cloth was removed from atop the statue, presenting it to the crowd. Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., Governor Jim Hunt, and Sculptor Selma Burke all addressed the crowd during the ceremony. Reverend King was also slated to preach at 11:00 am the following day at Mayfield Memorial Baptist Church.

  • Subject Notes

    The monument pays homage to one of the most influential activists from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

  • Controversies

    In 1996, the monument was vandalized, with a swastika painted on its base. The case was handled by the Special Information Bureau of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

  • Location

    The monument is located along E. 3rd Street in Marshall Park.

  • Landscape

    Since the monument is located in a park, the landscape surrounding the monument is always well-kept and attractive.

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