SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The nation is honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, and his vision for peace and unity. On Monday, Sioux Falls did something special to observe Martin Luther King Junior day and celebrate his visit to the city. City leaders unveiled a life-sized sculpture of Doctor King. It stands in Van Eps Park, near where he stayed while visiting Sioux Falls in 1961. Sculptor Porter Williams says he spent a lot of time on this piece, and he has big hopes for what it can do.
Video captures a moment in the past, when Martin Luther King junior made his first trip to South Dakota. He even did an interview at the KELOLAND studio. King spoke about how the pursuit of non-violence would be the driving force behind the civil rights movement. Now King has a permanent place in the city he visited nearly 60 years ago.
“On behalf of the people of Sioux Falls, I want to dedicate this statue to the legacy of Martin Luther King, as well as those who have fought and continue to fight for justice, unity, and equality throughout the world, but especially in our own city,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said.
Williams says it’s a great honor to create this sculpture as a lasting tribute.
“Oh, he’s just a remarkable person. I’m really honored to have lived in his time,” WIlliams said. “He did a lot for black Americans.”
Director of the South Dakota African American History Museum Laura Renee Chandler says it’s important to present Doctor King this way in a public space.
“People can approach it, shake the hand and imagine being there with Doctor King,” Chandler said.
Doctor King’s work remains an important piece of our past. Williams hopes the sculpture not only reminds people about his visit, but also inspires everyone to do their own part in the fight for a better future.
“We can look back and see how far we’ve come and where we’re at today. As one black American, I’d like to say we’ve come to far to go back now,” Williams said.