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City dedicates monument to Martin Luther King Jr's Fort Wayne speech

Fort Wayne unveiled the Pillars of Hope and Justice monument on Monday, honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and his speech given in the city in 1963 on the 60th anniversary of his visit.

King’s son, Martin Luther King III (the 3rd) helped city leaders dedicate the monument. He said the biggest hope for the monument is to inspire the community of Fort Wayne to be even better.

“Because it really is about those who are coming behind us. Our nation is not where it should be 60 years after my father was here," King said. "I hope that we understand that the work is nowhere near complete.”

The pillars are designed in the spirit of reeds growing out of the ground and towards the sky. Each branch is made up of the words Martin Luther King Jr said in his Fort Wayne speech.

The process for creating the monument began in 2020, when the city council passed a resolution sponsored by City Councilpersons Michelle Chambers and Russ Jehl.

The dedication was followed by a 60th anniversary celebration held in the USF Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center, the former Scottish Rite Auditorium, where Martin Luther King Jr delivered his speech on June 5, 1963.

Ella Abbott is a multimedia reporter for 89.1 WBOI. She is a strong believer in the ways audio storytelling can engage an audience and create a sensory experience.