News 12 at 6 o'clock, January 22, 2008
AUGUSTA, Ga.---City leaders were out pounding the pavement to find a home for a new statue honoring a civil right's leader who's last visit to the area sparked protests. "Not a church in this town would welcome him. All the African-American ministers were afraid to allow him to use their pulpit accept for Beulah Grove Baptist Church," said Harry James with the African American Historical Committee.
"Knowing that he had come here...even knowing that he had been rejected here we have a chance to accept him here," said Reverend Larry Fryer who is working to bring the statue to Augusta.
Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver plans to present a resolution to the Augusta commission. He says the time to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is now. "This has been in the works for any number of years. I think that there's the general consensus in this community that we need to find a place for a statue to honor Dr. King."
The possible location would be along James Brown Boulevard and Walton Way. The statue would sit in front of a new judicial center. It would cost 80 to $100,000. "We are not asking taxpayers to pay one cent. This is going to come by public and private donations," said Rev. Fryer.
It worked for James Brown's statue. The price tag for Brown's statue was about $40,000. $10,000 came from public funds and $30,000 came from private donations.
Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength is donating $1000 dollars for the MLK statue. Reverend Larry Fryer says that is just the beginning. "It's a dream and most of all it will certainly be a reality. It is a city in unity and we won't be talking about it anymore. It'll be in action, and that is what is most important."
The idea will go before Augusta committee meetings next week. The full commission will take up the topic February 5th. We understand Thumbs-Up Community Center, Inc. has organized the Statue of a King fund. You can donate at:
Statue of a King
P.O. Box 88
Augusta, GA 30903