NEW MLK JR. STATUE

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White wants a new Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. statue in Springfield. White says he will contribute $5,000 toward a fund to design and build it. The current statue is across from the Statehouse on "Freedom Corner" – at the intersection of Capitol and Second streets. It was first placed about three decades ago after being designed by African American sculptor Geraldine McCullough. "The placement is a complete insult to (King's) legacy. The way it's maintained has been completely demeaning," Dominic Watson, head of the Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce, told Illinois Times last July. "I stand ready to help in any way that will bring about a new statue of Dr. King that is prominent, dignified and representative ... of the man as he was known to the nation and the world," White said in a May 4 news release. Last month, House Speaker Chris Welch announced a new task force to review statues and monuments on Statehouse grounds and propose new ones. Last year, statues of Pierre Menard and Stephen A. Douglas were taken off the Capitol lawn. Both men profited from slavery.