Chamber Panel Recommends Two Martin Luther King Jr. Memorials

Times Staff Writer

Private efforts to honor slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. should include two separate memorials with a total cost of about $750,000, a Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce subcommittee has recommended.

The subcommittee is part of a larger, 18-member Martin Luther King Memorial Committee that was formed last week by the Chamber to find a way to use the private sector to raise money and erect the memorials.

The committee was formed to allay anger in the minority community after the Nov. 3 vote to strip King’s name from a downtown thoroughfare and return the name of Market Street. Local black leaders called for a nationwide boycott of the San Diego tourist industry but then canceled their efforts after the Chamber promised to coordinate private efforts to honor King.

Bill Nelson, the Chamber’s board chairman, said the full Memorial Committee will vote on the recommendations that were released Tuesday.


In the report, a subcommittee suggested two kinds of memorials to honor King.

The first would be a traditional “artistic” memorial. “Hopefully, the artistic monument will reflect the spirit that is about to emerge in our city over these next several months,” the subcommittee wrote.

The second memorial would be a “living” tribute to King--a fund set aside for scholarships or service awards.

The cost for both these memorials was estimated at $750,000--$250,000 for the artistic and $500,000 for the living memorial.


“The people of San Diego should not be underestimated,” the report said. “When the appeal is made and the cause is clear, thousands and thousands of people will be inspired to give whatever they can afford. It is the belief that much of the goal will be achieved by small gifts from people throughout the city and county.”

To kick off the fund-raising campaign, the report suggests holding a special event Jan. 13 at the San Diego Marriott (formerly the Hotel Inter-Continental). The report suggests inviting State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown and U.S. Sen. Pete Wilson as speakers, and ending the program by joining hands and singing “We Are the World” to demonstrate the community’s unity on the King memorials.

Those working on the subcommittee were Herb L. Cawthorne, president of the Urban League of San Diego; Tom Carter, a developer who will be joining Great American First Savings Bank as chief lending officer, and Dick Haak, Home Federal Savings public relations manager.