Civil rights leader honored

Area residents look at and take pictures of a monument honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday in Potter Park after the dedication ceremony.

By Jack King

Speakers at the dedication of a monument honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Clovis’ Potter Park on Saturday said the civil rights leader didn’t belong to just his race, but to all races, and his legacy sets goals we are still struggling to achieve.
About 30 people attended the ceremony dedicating the memorial, a white obelisk with a bronze relief portrait of King that sits on a base covered with 220 ceramic tiles. The tiles contain names and inscriptions from area residents, families and businesses who bought them to help pay for the monument
Among those attending were members of the Clovis Martin Luther King Jr. Committee, which organized the drive to build the monument. City Commissioners Juan Garza, Catherine Haynes, Robert Sandoval and Lunell Winton, City Manager Ray Mondragon and other Clovis-area residents also were there.
Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Vice President Ron Betts, whom other committee members credit with the idea for the monument, said the tiles show the wide spectrum of community investment in the monument.
“The idea for the monument was to bring the community closer together,” he said.
Sandoval said he grew up in the neighborhood around Potter Park and added, “Martin Luther King didn’t belong only to his race. He belonged to all races and I’m honored to recognize him here today.”
Committee member Fred Perkins said King was a great individual with a vision of justice, equality and freedom for all individuals.
But, he said, “for some reason, after his death nothing seems to have come about as he envisioned it.”
“The dream is not complete. There is much more work to be done, but I think it’s up to us as individuals to carry it out,” Joyce Pollard, president of the King Committee, said after the ceremony.
Pollard said the need to carry out King’s vision of progress through non-violence is one reason for the work of the Clovis Martin Luther King Commission, which each year awards a scholarship to a local African-American student who maintains a 2.25 grade point average and wins an essay contest.
Two scholarship recipients were introduced at the ceremony: LaToya Anderson, the 2003 recipient; and LaSonia Grissom, the 1997 recipient.
The city of Clovis donated the site and maintenance of the monument, Pollard said.
The cost of the monument was $7,000, of which $500 came from the Clovis City Commission and $1,000 came from Plains Regional Medical Center. Remaining cash donations came from the sale of the tiles, although several people donated more than the $25 selling price of the tile — some as much as $250 — but insisted on having only one tile with their personal, family or business name set on the monument, Pollard said.
Nick Griego and Sons and Acuna and Sons construction companies donated materials and labor to build the monument. Adan Lucero and Sons laid bricks for it and Glaze Monument Co. mounted the bronze plaque with King’s portrait. Doris Wallace, a retired Clovis High School art teacher, painted the names and inscriptions on the tiles, she said.