Supporters pray new monument depicting the civil rights leader as a preacher will be part of a bigger revival for peace and unity.
On Monday, Kathy Fincher looked into Martin Luther King Jr.’s eyes and knew something wasn’t quite right.
The statue of King that she had been working on for years is said to be the first to portray the civil rights leader and preacher wearing robes and holding a Bible. For Fincher, the design relies on King’s heavenward gaze, on the eyes that “have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,” as he said in his 1968 “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech.
Days before the statue’s April 1 unveiling in Atlanta, she removed a piece of clay and made some last-minute adjustments during the patina process so his eyes reflected the light.
“My idea was he would be on a mountaintop, with a Moses-type look, and he would be talking to God,” said the Georgia artist, who listened on repeat to the famous speech from the eve of King’s assassination. “I designed it so his hands would be face up, so he’d be catching the light that was given to him, not sideways like he was preaching, and his eyes and head were raised up.”
The eight-foot, two-inch King monument takes its place on Saturday among what will eventually be 18 statues of Georgia peacemakers at the Rodney Cook Sr. Peace Park in the Vine City neighborhood. The Peace Park opened two years ago—a reconstruction of Mims Park, the first integrated park in Atlanta.
In remembrance of the 55th anniversary of King’s death, community leaders, politicians, and clergy will join together for a peace walk and a first view of the statue. The lineup for the event includes Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King and CEO of the King Center, as well as Andrew Young, civil rights leader and former Atlanta …