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MLK Memorial at Battle Garden

Welcome to the second installment of Exhibit Columbia. Join me this week as I explore the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Memorial at Battle Garden.

For years Columbia citizens dreamed of honoring the life of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. whether it was naming a street or dedicating a school after his name and legacy. In February 1988, the dream became a reality as the Columbia City Council created a committee of four members to develop a plan as well as to recommend a site for the memorial. After one year of considering seven different locations, the task force settled on a two acre site off of Stadium Boulevard entrance to the Missouri Katy Trail (MKT).

Artist Barbara Grygutis’s winning design, among many others, were evaluated by jurors in a national competition. Her winning piece was composed of granite, brick, ceramic tile and sod.

The sculpture resembles a small amphitheater and includes eight triangular columns of varying heights. Each column displays an excerpt from Dr. King’s writings (shown above) which were selected by Dr. Linda Bolton. The memorial was dedicated on August 28, 1993, thirty years to the day of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech delivered during the March on Washington in 1963.

The MLK Memorial at Battle Garden continues to serve as a serene environment for Columbians to gather together, commemorating Dr. King and his advancements to civil rights in America.

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Photos by Joy Park

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