The name Martin Luther King Jr. conjures up not just the great man's words and deeds, but his image, as well. For most people at least, but New Yorkers living near MLK Park in Buffalo say their version of King looks nothing like the man, and they want that to change.

According to the Buffalo News, activists led by Samuel Herbert have collected over 6,000 signatures to have the park's giant bust of MLK removed and replaced with one they feel better resembles the late civil rights leader.

"Dr. King was born on American soil. Dr. King was born as a Black man," said Herbert. "As an American, he is deserving to have a statue that looks just like him."

Sculptor John Woodrow Wilson created the piece. The artist purposefully worked to make the artwork only vaguely resemble King to give the community an "everyman" appearance that represented all people of all ethnicities.

Edmund J. Cardoni Jr., executive director of Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, defended the artist's choice, saying, "[Wilson] knew he was making a lightly abstracted work that would convey the dignity, strength and power of Martin Luther King and the whole civil rights movement.”

However, as Herbert's petition proves, many folks weren't here for this explanation.







According to WIVB, Herbert hopes to collect 10,000 signatures and get the statue replaced by 2020. Many Buffalo businesses are supporting the plan and have allowed the activist to post petitions in their establishments. Herbert has also launched a Change.org petition. 

"No abstract. No symbolism," Herbert said. "Enough of symbolism, we want realism."


Now, check these out: 

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