Sioux Falls hosts special statue dedication on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) All over the country, people are gathering to honor one of America’s most prolific civil rights heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his birthday.

At the City Center in downtown Sioux Falls, the past meets the present with a monument being unveiled on Martin Luther King Jr. day.

A statue of Dr. King will be unveiled in Van Eps Park, honoring his legacy and remembering his trip to Sioux Falls.

Dr. King arrived on January 12th, back in 1961. It was his first trip to the state. He spoke at a dinner meeting of the Knife and Fork Club, at the Cataract Hotel. A hotel he was not even allowed to stay at, instead boarding at St. John's First Baptist Church.

Where the church was located would later become roughly the same place the park is today. It is an important part of the history of Sioux Falls.

"Black history, is American history, so it's extremely important for people in Sioux Falls in particular, to know our history, to know our place in history. Sioux Falls especially, we have the most diverse community in the state, so it is important to know each history that has developed throughout our community,” said Julian Beaudion, Assistant Director of the South Dakota African-American Museum.

Two years later, Dr. King would give his iconic, "I have a dream" speech. For the artist, this is a way to remember a man like no other.

"The statue is really to honor a great man, I mean Martin Luther King Jr. was, I don't really know of any black person that compares to Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Artist Porter Williams.

The nearly 1,500-pound statue is already in the park, a hand already out so you can shake the hand of Dr. King.