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More than 6,000 signatures collected to remove statue from MLK Jr. Park

BUFFALO, N.Y.(WIVB) -- - A Buffalo activist is collecting thousands of signatures to try to remove the current Martin Luther King Jr. statue at MLK Park. His goal is to get 10,000 signatures and get a new statue in place by 2020.
Now an artist from North Carolina wants to help.

It's not hard to miss -- the giant head has been a fixture at MLK Park for decades. Some people say it looks nothing like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but according to the original artist, it's not supposed to --  it's a representation.


"We have allowed this distorted image to sit here for 35 years," said Samuel Herbert , chairman of the Coalition To Save MLK Park.   

Samuel Herbert wants to change that.

He's collected more than 6,000 signatures to remove and replace this statue with something that looks more like Dr. King.

"Our beef has never been with the sculptor, but the committee that approved this shameful image of a great American," said Herbert.

Herbert says he wants 10,000 signatures to present to city, county and even state lawmakers.
A sculptor in Raleigh, North Carolina created his own statue of MLK and hopes Buffalo might be interested. Lee Speight says he found out about Herbert's mission online.

"I made the model of it and it's made out of terracotta and it's life size, he's 5'7 because Martin Luther King was 5'7," said Lee Speight.
But herbert has his eyes set on a different artist.

"I want that gentleman that did the work in Washignton D.C. on the National Monument," said Herbert.
Herbert says he's been talking to the artist but is focused on finalizing phase one of this project -- which is getting signatures.

"A statue that looks just like Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. No abstract. No symbolism. Enough of symbolism, we want realism," said Hebert.

Herbert says after signatures, the next phase will be fundraising. He says it may be a legal battle to get this statue removed, but if necessary he's prepared to go to court.

There's a list of places where you can sign the petition in person including:
Margie's Soul Food at the Broadway Market
Avenue Pizza and Subs, 1575 Broadway
Mattie’s, 1412 Fillmore Ave
Ansar Fragrances and More, 1371 Fillmore Ave.
Sam’s Express Mart, 880 Fillmore Ave.
Doris Records, 286 E. Ferry St.
East Ferry Liquors, 405 E. Ferry St.

There also is an online petition at change.org.


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