Jesse White Calls For New King Statue At Illinois Capitol

May 4, 2021

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. statue at Second Street and Capitol Avenue in Springfield.
Credit Illinois Secretary of State

The Illinois Secretary of State wants to see a new statue of Dr. Martin Luther King on the state capitol grounds.  Jesse White says it should be placed in a prominent location and he’s even agreed to contribute the first five thousand dollars to the project. 

White says a statue of King that currently sits at Second Street and Capitol Avenue in Springfield, across from the statehouse, fails to properly reflect the civil rights leader. 

“I stand ready to help in any way that will bring about a new statue of Dr. King that is prominent, dignified and representative not only of the man as I knew him but of the man as he was known to the nation and the world,” said White in a news release. “This includes contributing the first $5,000 to this effort. Dr. King is an icon ― a man who stood for equality, who rejected bigotry and segregation, and who did so in a non-violent manner. It is fitting and proper to commission a new statue of Dr. King and to find a more prominent location on the Capitol Complex.”

He added the time is right as the Illinois House has established a Statue and Monument Review Task Force to review which monuments are located at the Capitol Complex.  

“To this day, I remain impacted by Dr. King’s teachings,” said White. “His values and dignified behavior continue to inspire and resonate with me. I remember Dr. King attending my college basketball games and staying afterward to offer me words of encouragement and support. He made a difference in my life.”

White says he met King while a student at Alabama State College in the early 1950’s – and attended church where King was the pastor.   White also participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.