More than 6,000 people have signed a petition in Buffalo, N.Y., that calls for a statue honoring Martin Luther King Jr. to be replaced with a more realistic likeness of the civil rights icon.
The push to replace the statue is being organized by Samuel A. Herbert, who says he has collected more than 6,000 signatures calling for the statue to be replaced, writes The Buffalo News. He began collecting the signatures for the petition on MLK day this year.
Created by a black artist, John Woodrow Wilson, the 8-foot-tall bronze bust has looked over MLK Park since 1983. As the Buffalo News reports, the statue was not intended to look like Dr. King, but rather, as an “every man” that “young black men and others” could identify with.
But if you look at one of Wilson’s sketches—one that strongly resembles the composition of the statue—that sketch bears a strong resemblance to Dr. King, suggesting that a more realistic depiction was considered at some point.
Herbert acknowledges that a lot of people are fine leaving the statue how it is. But many others, apparently, feel the Matthew Luther Prince statue is an inadequate homage.
From the Buffalo News:
Herbert said a woman exclaimed, “We’ve been robbed!” at the installation. [Herbert] had donated money that should have gone to bills to help fund the sculpture, and he was disappointed when he saw it, he said.
“Dr. King was born on American soil. Dr. King was born as a black man,” Herbert said. “As an American, he is deserving to have a statue that looks just like him.”
So what’s next for the Martin Lawrence King bust? Herbert wants to collect over 4,000 more signatures before he presents the petition to local and state officials. Next would come fundraising—which he’d prefer to hand over to professionals. According to the Buffalo News, he’d like to see a new MLK likeness in the park by 2020.