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Vandalized MLK statue in Springfield to return soon

The statue as it stood before being vandalized in 2022.
NPR Illinois
The statue as it stood before being vandalized in 2022.

The statue of Martin Luther King Jr. will be reinstalled across from the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield this summer.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office announced this follows “a successful restoration of the sculpture that was vandalized in 2022.”

“As we celebrate freedom this month, it’s essential that we continue to commemorate the history making achievements of Dr. King and his pursuit for freedom for all Americans, regardless of their skin color,” Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias said. “His relentless efforts to build a fairer society and his life-long devotion to civil rights make him one of the world’s most influential individuals.”

Fernando Garcia pleaded guilty to damaging the state property and was ordered to pay restitution.

The office said crews recently poured the concrete that will secure the base of the sculpture. After the concrete cures and settles, the sculpture will be replaced.

The renovated statue will feature the craftmanship of Illinois-based Sculpture Resource, which restored the statue. The repaired sculpture will have a refinished bronze surface and new bronze base.

The statue has its critics who say it's too small and those who complain it has been neglected through the years.

Meanwhile, state officials are continuing discussions regarding a new MLK statue on the Capitol Complex grounds in Springfield to further honor his legacy and contributions. In January 2023, Illinois lawmakers approved legislation calling for a new MLK sculpture at a new location that has yet to be determined.

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