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By Joy Belgiovine
As Black History Month comes to a close, the Bergen County Martin Luther King Jr. Monument Committee is actively seeking donations to put the finishing touches on bronze statue honoring the late civil rights leader.
The $250,000 7-foot statue will be located on the Hackensack River Pathway as it crosses the Fairleigh Dickinson University campus in Hackensack and is expected to be installed the first week in June.
“To commemorate the legacy of Dr. King and have this monument on view for the entire community and region is marvelous,” said Arnold Brown, a committee co-chairman. “Having this life-size monument by the university will serve as wonderful exposure to a younger generation and encourage dialogue, ‘What did he stand for?’ and ‘What did he accomplish?’”
This project is a sentimental one for Brown as well as committee co-chairwoman Theodora Lacey, who knew King from Georgia where they were both active in the civil rights movement. Brown was at the 1963 March on Washington where he witnessed King’s infamous “I had a dream” speech.
It was Brown and Lacey who spearheaded the monument project in 2010.
Master sculptor Richard Blake was selected from a group of 14 artists who submitted their work to be considered as the design. With more than 35 years of success in public art and sculpture, Blake has received countless awards and accolades and his work is among the permanent collections of the Architect of the United States Capital and other museums.
For a donation of $200, inscribable bricks will be displayed on the monument site. A grand gala fundraiser is scheduled for May 17 at the Teaneck Glenpointe Marriott from 7 p.m. to midnight. For tickets, contact Gwyn Worthy Brown, 201-315-6333, email@example.com, or Gail Baskerville Norris, 973-713-3294, firstname.lastname@example.org.