According to fundraiser chairperson Linda McQueen Mack, the memorial is now in the stages of being constructed and completed. She states that over seven thousand dollars of the eight thousand needed has been raised so far. The fundraising committee is made up of Mack, Commissioners John A. Staton and E.H. Alexander and the Concerned Citizens group of Red Springs.
Last summer, a businessman and resident of Red Springs went to Mrs. Mack, who is also a Red Springs Town Commissioner, about honoring the slain civil rights leader, mainly because surrounding towns in Robeson County have a street named after Mr. King. It was brought up at a Town Board meeting about renaming a street n West Fourth Avenue n after King, but there was too much paperwork involved and addresses would have to be changed. A motion was made to erect a monument in his honor which will serve the purpose of honoring King.
“It was Howard Sinclair, the barber, that first approached me about the Town of Red Springs not having anything to memorialize Dr. King, where all the other towns around did and this concerned him,” said Mack. “He approached me and asked me if we couldn’t do something because Dr. King was a great person, a great humanitarian and he did so much for so many people that we needed to do something to honor him.
Mack stated that she has talked with the architect of the monument and it should be completed around the first of August. Alan Parnell of Floyd Mortuary and Crematory, Inc., in Lumberton is doing the work on the monument.
The memorial is to be place in the small mini-park there at the corner. Due to some incorrect measurements, the ground has been dug up and a new foundation will be placed there to display the monument.
The monument made of granite and featuring several etched quotes and images of King. The mini-park is also the home to the Red Springs Chamber of Commerce sign shelter and a huge, illuminated clock, a gift from the Red Springs Junior Dilettante Club.
Mack stated that the money raised for the monument will also go towards the lighting of the park.
“This is something that the people of Red Springs are going to be proud of,” said Mack. “We do have a lot of places that have streets named after Dr. King, but this is going to be something that people coming through town will see. It’s placed right in the middle of town and it will show our pride in honoring a man as great as Dr. King.”
As part of the fundraising effort, John McNeill of McNeill Jewelers in Red Springs and Lumberton has donated a 2.5 carat diamond ring that organizers are selling tickets on for only a $2.00 donation. The drawing for the beautiful ring will be held on Friday, September 1.
Tickets for the ring can be purchased at several locations in Red Springs. They are McNeill Jewelers, Red Springs Town Hall, Council’s Barber Shop, Red Springs Drug, The Red Springs Citizen and Created For You Leaning Academy.
Mack pointed out that most of the money raised so far has been coming from local families and businesses. Those making donations of $500.00 or more will have their names etched on the monument as a donor.
“I want to thank all the people because we have had so much support from the people that we have asked to help,” said Mack. “The contributions have been wonderful and we just want to thank everyone again for what they have done. When it’s time to have our ceremony, we want all of Red Springs to be there.”
Dr. King was a Baptist minister and American political activist who was noted as the most famous leader of the American civil rights movement. He won the Noble Peace Prize before being assassinated in 1968. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter. The Martin Luther King Day was established in his honor and takes place in January.
He is best known to many for his most influential and well-known speech, “I Have A Dream.”