Statue featuring Fr. Hesburgh, Dr. MLK Jr. holding hands to be unveiled Wednesday

(Photo supplied/City of South Bend)

One of the most powerful symbols of the civil rights movement in the 1960s will be immortalized in South Bend on Wednesday.

City and Notre Dame leaders will be dedicating the new statue featuring Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and Father Theodore Hesburgh interlocking hands while singing “We Shall Overcome” at a Chicago civil rights rally in 1964.

The statue will feature a life-sized model of both men and will allow the public to actually join their open hands in solidarity. City officials say the statues are being erected as “a reminder of the history of civil rights gains and foster the pride South Bend has in its diversity and dedication to social justice.”

“Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Father Theodore Hesburgh were moral leaders of their time. This monument will serve to commemorate their work and inspire others to emulate their courage. Residents of South Bend can join hands with the two men and remember the sacrifices they made in the name of justice and equality,” Mayor Pete Buttigieg said.

The statue will go on display at Leighton Plaza on Wednesday at 11 a.m. Residents are encouraged to gather at the Martin Luther King Junior Recreation Center on Linden Avenue at 10 a.m. to join in on a march to the plaza.


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