The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the country’s most lauded citizens, will be finally honored by his home state with a sculpture on its capitol grounds.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus) announced this week that the state has selected artist Andy Davis to create the piece. The sculpture will be placed on the northeast quadrant of the Capitol grounds overlooking Liberty Plaza, replacing a likeness of 19th century politician and newspaperman Tom Watson, a white supremacist. Watson’s statute was removed from the Georgia Capitol lawn in November 2013, reports local station WMAZ-13.
“Placing a statue of Dr. King at the Capitol of his home state is a long overdue honor,” Gov. Deal said in a statement. “I am confident that Andy Davis’ past works, including a statue of Ray Charles in the singer’s hometown of Albany, have prepared him well for this historic project. I commend Rep. Smyre for his diligent efforts and leadership on this project and I look forward to seeing the final work of art.”
The new statue will be built with private money. Its final cost has not yet been determined, though estimates amount to $350,000 reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Rep. Smyre, an African-American, said it was important that they chose a Georgian to do the piece. Lei Yixin, a Master sculptor from China, did King’s Memorial on the U.S. mall in 2011.