Public art with a timely message
A statue to The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. now stands on Binghamton’s River Walk at the Court Street Bridge at the head of the Peacemakers Trail. Unveiled Wednesday (Nov. 17), the life-sized sculpture captures the civil rights martyr in dynamic action. Sculptor Stan Watts of Atlas Bronze Casting of Kearns, Utah, said he wanted to portray the civil rights martyr in full exhortation, arm raised in a call to action, mouth open to utter the words “I have a dream today …” Watts said he wanted the art work to speak for itself. He was commissioned to create the bronze statue by the Broome County Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission headed by Reverend Arthur Jones and his wife, Camille Jones, who raised some $30,000 for the project.
- Rev. Arthur Jones & wife Camille at the MLK Statue dedication
- Artist Stan Watts created the statue as a public monument to Dr. King’s message
- Statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. in silhouette
A diverse crowd from many walks of community life came together for the dedication ceremony, which featured remarks by Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan, Senator Tom Libous, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, Congressman Maurice Hinchey’s representative Dan Lamb and Kevin McCabe, regional representative for Governor David Paterson. In the tradition of monumental public art, the statue itself and its site placement convey a visual message as well as a visceral one, which was expressed by special guest speaker, Cliff Frazier, Executive Director of the New York Metropolitan Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolence. Frazier said he was happy to see the gathering of “black, white and brown” individuals who came out for the dedication.
Frazier said people must set aside ego and work together to achieve change. Each of us, Frazier said, can manifest in our own lives the lessons of equality, social justice , and peace for which Dr. King fought and died. (photos by S. Ball)
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