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Colorado Sculptor Criticizes MLK Memorial

DENVER (CBS4) – There was plenty of praise for new Martin Luther King Jr. Monument in Washington, which was dedicated over the weekend, but one Denver man is deeply critical of it.

Ed Dwight is one of America’s most prominent black sculptors. He says he was originally picked to lead the project and be the “sculptor of record” by the memorial foundation.

Instead, the honor ended up with not an African American, but a sculptor from China named Lei Yixin.

In an interview with CBS4 Dwight criticized the style Yixin chose for the sculpture of Martin Luther King.

More From MLK, Jr. Memorial dedication photos

“Here’s a man of the cloth and there’s nothing (in the sculpture) to indicate he was a man of God,” said Dwight.

Ed Jackson, the executive architect for the Martin Luther King Foundation, defended the choice of Yixin.

“The selection of the sculptor was not based on the country of origin but the content of his character and the talent that he could bring that we had to the task we had at hand,” Jackson said.

The likeness of the civil rights leader was cleared with his own children, who selected the image, but Dwight believes King would have wanted an African American for the job.

“He was worried for jobs about for black Americans,” Dwight said. “The man got killed in Memphis for the garbage workers.”


  • CW

    Cheap Labor that’s why they went with someone from China

  • Stan

    The statue makes MLK look like a Chinese Black man

  • jp

    I thought this was going to be about how they chose WHITE rock.

  • Ryan

    Sad state when our own country imports our arts rather than create it from within. Even the stone came from China… :(

  • O.G.

    It should have been done by an American, on American soil and with an American rock.

  • 8040two

    Some have called it the “Martin Luther Ching” memorial.

  • jude

    HOW much did the King family make off of this? Dr. King would be scandalized by the profiteering behavior of his family….There is NO argument. Mr. Dwight with perhaps input from OTHER BLACK artists should have had this commission. Dr. King would puke knowing that an artist approved by Chinese government who spends his time making statues of Mao ( King stature looks like an albino Chinese man) the KILLER of some 70 mill. Are you kidding me -This is the ultimate insult – Dr. King memorial OUTSOURCED…..note how the media was ‘ordered’ into silence. HOW MUCH DID King family profit? Besides living off their father’s suffering – heroics – imprisonment, where have they been in today’s imprisonment of young black men – stop and frisk – highest unemployment etc. As for Jesse or Al Sharpton – what a joke they both are/ house slaves –sold out. I worked with young black men for years (inner city) Jesse – Sharpton disgusted them…………….also black ministers in my city.

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