TRIBUTE TO KING UNVEILED

JAY JOCHNOWITZ Staff writer
Section: CAPITAL REGION,  Page: B3

Date: Wednesday, April 28, 1993

The acrimony that clouded a local Martin Luther King Jr. memorial apparently over, its backers on Tuesday unveiled a model of the monument and announced a $325,000 fund-raising campaign.


Supporters at a City Hall press conference said they are optimistic of raising the money from community, business and government sources. The memorial, to be erected in Lincoln Park, will feature an 8-foot statue of King standing before a throng of civil rights marchers in bas-relief. There will be several granite panels containing etchings of King and excerpts from his writings and speeches. Originally, the plan called for a $120,000 monument with only the panels, but some African-American leaders, including officials at the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and Institute for Non-Violence, complained that it wasn't heroic enough.


With the addition of the statue and bas-relief, Peter Pryor, chairman of the King commission, has added his name to the project's supporters, and the Rev. Robert Dixon, heading the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial of Albany Inc., said the monument will be "a perfect reminder of the historic legacy of Dr. King."


The statue will be created by Eileen Barry of East Islip, a sculptor whose accomplishments include the Rensselaer County Vietnam Memorial at Riverfront Park in Troy and the nation's first monument to female veterans, in Rockaway Beach in Queens.


Barry, like Hershberg, said the task was one of discovery for her because she found she knew little about the civil rights leader. To find a fitting likeness, she said, she examined dozens of photographs of King and worked with Flip Schulke, a photographer who traveled with him for years.


For the bas-relief, she said, she sought out ordinary people from her community on Long Island, and when word got out that they would be used for a memorial to King, the response was "phenomenal. You can't believe the number of people that came forward. People who wanted children to understand what King was about. Today's 16-, 18-, 21-year-olds, who understand what Dr. King was about."


She warned them that they'd get no personal credit as models, she said, but "each of these people said the same thing: 'I'll know.'"


The panels, Hershberg said, are being cut and polished by Rock of Ages of Barre, Vt., and the etching done by a world-renowned artisan, Alcide Fantoni.


The city of Albany is contributing $75,000 to the project, while the balance is expected to come from several sources, including:


$200,000 from major gifts by individuals and corporations. Robert Macfarland, retiring chairman of Fleet Bank of New York, is serving as honorary chairman of that effort, and Mervyn L. Alphonso, senior vice president of Key Bank, is chairman.


$25,000 from the religious community, which has raised $3,750 so far.


$20,000 from a tribute dinner June 22 to Mayor Thomas M. Whalen III. The dinner, canceled last year when disputes over the monument arose, is billed as a tribute to Whalen's work on behalf of the black community.


$5,000 from a Freedom March on June 12 organized by the Albany City Schools.


Donations can be made to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial of Albany Inc., P.O. Box 155, Albany, NY 12201. For more information, call the Rev. Robert Dixon, 438-4752.