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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 Park, Sanford

  • Type

    Public Space

  • Subjects

    African American Monuments

    Historic Political Figures

    Historic Civic Figures

    Historic Religious Figures

    Historic African American Figures

    Historic Protest Figures

  • Creator

    Deborah Motter, Sculptor

  • City

    Sanford

  • County

    Lee

  • Description

    The focal point of the Sanford memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a 3’ X 4’ relief sculpture of King. The image is carved into a triangular brick column that is the prominent feature of the small park honoring King. The carving shows King, as if in contemplation, with his head resting on his proper right hand. A dedication plaque and smaller plaque for the park site donation appear below the bas-relief. The column stands on a concrete pad flanked with flag poles and a courtyard of memorial brick pavers lies in front. This feature is rounded on the sides, with the top being flat and has a brick planter in the center. The planter continues the triangle shape of the brick wall but with the point cut off. Two brick sidewalks arch away from the courtyard. The area also has decorative lighting and park benches. A memorial sculpture carved into brick may be unique in North Carolina but is appropriate for Sanford which holds the title of “Brick Capital of the USA.”

    Images: Close-up view | Bas-relief | Dedication plaque | Far-off view

  • Inscription

    Dedication plaque: THIS MEMORIAL IS DEDICATED TO HONOR / DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. / 2010 / MAYOR: CORNELIA P. OLIVE / CITY COUNCIL / MICHAEL C. STONE JAMES G. WILLIAMS / LEOPOLD I. COHEN WALTER H. MCNEIL, JR. / SAMUEL P. GASKINS LINWOOD S.MANN / CHARLES M. TAYLOR / CITY MANAGER / HAL HEGWER / GENERAL SERVICES DIRECTOR / TIM SHAW

    Land plaque: PROPERTY PROUDLY DONATED BY / THE DAN CAPE FAMILY

  • Custodian

    City of Sanford

  • Dedication Date

    2010

  • Decade

    2010s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.473510 , -79.177050 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      Alderman, Derek H. "Street Names as Commemorative Landscapes: The Case of Martin Luther King, Jr.," from “Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina”, http://docsouth.unc.edu/commland/, (accessed May 16, 2012) Link

      Swymer, Faith. “MLK Park a Longtime Dream,” The Sanford Herald (Sanford, NC) January 15, 2009

      “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial,” Central Carolina Community College Poetry and Sculpture, (accessed December 20, 2016) Link

      “Martin Luther King,” City of Sanford, http://www.sanfordnc.net, (accessed December 20, 2016) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Sanford brick

  • Sponsors

    City of Sanford and public subscription

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    Groundbreaking for the park was held on January 12, 2009. During this ceremony, Tim Shaw, the city’s public works operations manager in charge of the project, said that “there needed to be more done, something permanent, something more visible,” than simply naming a street after King.

  • Subject Notes

    The half-acre plot for the park was donated by local auctioneer Dan Cape several years after two teenagers were arrested for burning wooden crosses on the site as a prank.

    Deborah Motter was a student in the Central Carolina Community College Professional Arts and Crafts: Sculpture program. She was commissioned by the city of Sanford to carve the likeness of Dr. King. Construction on the park began in 2009 and was completed to include the sculpture in 2010.

  • Location

    Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park is located at 645 S Horner Blvd. in Sanford, NC, at the intersection with Washington Avenue.

  • Landscape

    MLK Memorial Park is surrounded by a wooded area.

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