Benton Harbor, St. Joseph plan to erect King statues

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Two neighboring cities in southwestern Michigan are making a public commitment to social justice by installing statues of Martin Luther King Jr. in both communities.

Benton Harbor, which is 84% Black, and St. Joseph, which is 84% white, also will erect separate statues of a resident who is remembered as a social justice leader in each city.

“Art has a unique ability to enhance our communities. Now is the time,” Benton Harbor city Commissioner Edward Isom said during Friday's announcement.

Mack and Sharon Brown opened the African American History and Literature Museum in Benton Harbor three years ago and are involved in the project, The Herald-Palladium reported.

“This will be the first of many things we will do together," said Peggy Geggy, a St. Joseph city commissioner and co-chair of the local Arts & Culture Social Justice Committee.

The goal is to have the statues up in 2022. Donations will be accepted.

“We want the community to help shape this,” Sharon Brown said. “We’re not looking to put up tall monuments for us to just look at. They are for the people.”

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