Martin Luther King UC Davis
In about 1986 a group of students and alumni from King Hall law school at UC Davis decided to have a call for artists to create a sculpture of Martin Luther King to be put in the foyer of law school. Having just completed my Masters degree at Davis where I created life-size figurative ceramic sculptures, I was very intrigued by this call for artists. My father had joined the march from Selma to Montgomery when I was a child, and I grew up in an atmosphere of political and social activism. So when I heard about this project it was as if a light bulb went off. I thought about how Martin Luther King would want to be depicted. I didn’t think he would want to be depicted as a lone hero, but as the leader of a great movement for social change and social justice. I believed, as he said with his drum major speech, that he would want to be depicted with the community of other Civil Rights Activists and with the stories of the Civil Rights Movement. Because I could depict Martin Luther King in a minister’s robe, it gave me a canvas to create a mural-like narrative in which I could depict in bas-relief narrative images from the history of the civil rights movement that he lead. My hope was that this sculpture would be a reminder to all came to the King School of Law of the concept of equal rights and social justice in which the namesake of the school represents. The Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1965 as a result of the great efforts marches and sacrifices made by all the activists of the civil rights movement.
If you visit the King School of Law at UC Davis, there is now interactive technology incorporated into the site where the sculpture is located. It is a great way to learn more about the meaning and history of each of the images depicted on the sculpture of Dr. King.