Sculpture of King, Hesburgh planned in downtown South Bend

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A sculpture of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and University of Notre Dame President Theodore Hesburgh is planned for a downtown South Bend plaza.

The bronze sculpture is being modeled after a photograph of King and Hesburgh joining hands during a 1964 civil rights rally in Chicago.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says people will be able to hold hands with the King and Hesburgh figures as others did at the rally.

“In these crucial times, our community is coming together to create a unifying and enduring monument,” Mayor Buttigieg said. “This monument will honor two great men, add character and beauty to our downtown and serve as a constant reminder of South Bend’s unique connections to America’s history of struggle and growth when it comes to inclusion and civil rights.”

The sculpture will be created by retired Indiana University South Bend art professor Tuck Langland. The project’s estimated $240,000 cost will be paid for by donations, including from Notre Dame, which Hesburgh led from 1952 until 1987.

Officials plan to unveil the sculpture next June on Leighton Plaza near the St. Joseph County Courthouse.

Leighton Plaza, at 130 S. Main Street in downtown South Bend, was chosen for its central location, which will be even more visible and accessible once current improvements are completed as part of the City’s Smart Streets initiative.

This is a completely separate project from the Martin Luther King Jr. street renaming, which the City continues to work on and hopes to resolve by the end of the year.

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