City Abandons Dream of Statue of Dr. King

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After spending $71,000, rejecting the work of two sculptors and arguing for two years, Rocky Mount, N.C., has scrapped plans to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a bronze statue.

"The Council just felt that this was a no-win situation," said Peter F. Varney, assistant city manager, explaining the 4-to-2 City Council vote on Monday to abandon the effort to commemorate Dr. King's November 1962 visit with a statue in a local park.

Some scholars believe that a speech Dr. King gave at the high school may have been the first time he used the phase, "I have a dream."

"No matter what we decided to do it was going to be criticized," Mr. Varney said. "We decided to spend the money on more pressing city problems."

For the past two years, this city of 57,000 about 50 miles east of Raleigh has not been able to agree on a likeness of Dr. King, though it hired two sculptors and spent more than $56,000 on one statue and $15,000 on the clay model for another.

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