Secretary of State, National Historians Addressed the House Statue and Monument Review Task Force (Springfield, IL) – The House Statue and Monument Review Task Force held a hearing this week on Wednesday, June 9 where members were joined by Secretary of State Jesse White and two members from the National Civil Rights Museum. The group discussed Secretary White’s initiative to erect a new Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. statue on the Capitol grounds in Springfield.
“I am so proud of the work our task force is putting into these hearings,” said House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. “This is part of a national movement in which local and state governments across the country are re-evaluating public art, the extent to which they accurately reflect history, and how they impact people who have been marginalized from our history. I look forward to the ongoing work this task force will complete.
At the hearing, Secretary White said he would like to establish a fund to redesign King’s likeness and move the sculpture from its current location across the street from the Capitol grounds. Secretary White has said he is willing to devote $5,000 of his own funds to make a statue that will be a true representative of Dr. King.
“How we depict our past history is critical to how we reflect the morals and values of our communities today,” said Deputy Majority Leader state Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago. “Hearing about the initiative from the Secretary of State and renowned experts about how we can better represent all communities was important and can help us on our path to ensure our state artwork is inclusive to all Illinoisans.
The National Civil Rights Museum was founded in 1991 and is located at the former Lorraine Motel, which is where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The museum is part of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, which coalesces many historic sites, museums and programs that focus on social justice and human rights. The perspectives and expertise of Secretary White and experts from the museum will inform the task force on how to better honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a state so central to Black liberty and excellence.
Secretary of State, National Historians Addressed the House Statue and Monument Review Task Force