Benton Harbor, St. Joseph plan to install Martin Luther King statues

The Herald-Palladium

Benton Harbor – Two neighboring cities in southwestern Michigan are making a public commitment to social justice by each installing statues of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Benton Harbor, which is 84% Black, and St. Joseph, which is 84% white, also will erect statues of a resident remembered as a social justice leader.

“Art has a unique ability to enhance our communities. Now is the time,” Benton Harbor City Commissioner Edward Isom said during Friday’s announcement.

Mack and Sharon Brown, who opened the African American History and Literature Museum in Benton Harbor three years ago, are involved in the project, The Herald-Palladium reported.

“We want the community to help shape this,” Sharon Brown said. “We’re not looking to put up tall monuments for us to just look at. They are for the people.”

The goal is to have the statues up in 2022. Donations will be accepted.

“This will be the first of many things we will do together,” said Peggy Geggy, a St. Joseph city commissioner and co-chair of the local Arts & Culture Social Justice Committee.