Martin Luther King III was 10 years old when his father was shot to death April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
The next year, his uncle, the Rev. Alfred King, younger brother of Martin Luther King Jr., mysteriously drowned, and five years after that, his grandmother, Alberta King, was gunned down in Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
“I could have easily embraced hatred,” King told the crowd Saturday as the keynote speaker for the unveiling of the statue of his father in MacGregor Park in Houston. “What I’m thankful for is the spirit of love that teaches you to dislike the evil act but still love the individual. That’s what we’ve got to do in America, to forgive and move forward.”
At least 3,000 people turned out for the unveiling ceremony, including about 50 Houston- area members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity in matching gold blazers and young boys in suits and ties. Among the VIPs on the stage was 108-year-old Emma Primus, of Houston.
The Black Heritage Society led the decadelong effort to create the tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. It recently donated the $120,000 statue, sculpted by Ken Washington of Greensboro, N.C., to the city of Houston’s public art collection. The city will maintain the bronze figure and the memorial plaza.
Saturday’s program included musical selections, invocations by six Houston clergy members and remarks by other dignitaries, including the Rev. Derek King, the slain civil rights icon’s nephew.
“Don’t get stuck on the statue,” he admonished. “We have a long way to go. … We don’t need another Martin Luther King. We need another you.”
The 8-foot bronze statue, unveiled around 2:30 p.m., depicts King in a flowing clerical robe, holding a Bible and looking toward the corner of Old Spanish Trail and MLK Boulevard.
SOURCE: Carol Christian
The Houston Chronicle