VANDALIZED MLK STATUE REDEDICATED - Amy Snider04/29/03
Today at the University of South Florida in Tampa, a Ceremony was held to rededicate a bust of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which had been vandalized, and repaired. WMNFâ€™s Amy Snider has the storyâ€¦
Actuality of student Laâ€™Farrah Davis
That was USF student LaFarrah Davis, who welcomed the crowd of about 250 to the Martin Luther King, Jr. bust rededication ceremony at Martin Luther King plaza on USFâ€™s Tampa campus.
USF senior Braulio Colon discussed the importance of the MLK plaza, with itâ€™s trellised colonnade, fountain, reflecting pool, and rows of palm trees which surround the likeness of Dr. King:
USF President Judy Genshaft outlined the progress that she says has been made since Martin Luther Kingâ€™s time. She described the University as a place where students of all races interact peacefully. However, she acknowledged that the ideals King stood for are still needed today.
Cheralyn LaTour, a Junior from Cape Coral, said that she, like most students of color, was incensed by the damage to the statue.
Yohansay Simonet of Trinidad is a student of Africana Studies at USF. He believes there is one race â€“ the human race. However, like many of the black students WMNF spoke with, Simonet said that he has experienced racism on campus, most of it subtle. However, when pressed, he reluctantly spoke of an incident in which USF police apprehended Simonet and a group of friends as they walked across campus:
According to USF police Captain Bob Staley, there were no witnesses to the vandalism incident, which occurred about 3 months ago. Thus far, there are no leads. Captain Staley said it seemed that students walked by the bust for days without noticing it had been damaged. It was USFâ€™s art curator who discovered that someone had tried to remove the bust from its pedestal. The likeness of Dr. King was also vandalized last year, said Captain Staley. The vandal, who was not a student, was arrested, Staley said. The 2002 incident was not considered a hate crime.
Captain Staley described what the University is doing to prevent future acts of vandalism:
The bust of Dr. Kingâ€™s head was created, and repaired, by artist Linda Ackley-Eeker. It is inscribed with a portion of Kingâ€™s â€œI have a dreamâ€? speech. For WMNF news, this is Amy Snider.