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10 January 2011

Macon City Council Member Creates False Controversy Over MLK Portrait

A new controversy surrounding the placement of Dr. Martin Luther King's portrait in the Georgia State Capitol is brewing on the pages of the social networking website Facebook, and it appears that a local elected official is its source.

Macon City Council member Elaine Lucas recently suggested partisanship had a hand in the decision to re-locate the portrait of Dr. King to a different part of the Capitol in order to accomodate a new portrait of Gov. Sonny Perdue.

"I think this is disgraceful and a Repub attempt to disrespect this great leader," read a January 8th posting on Lucas' Facebook page.

However, a report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp consulted with at least two Democrats --state Representative Calvin Smyre and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed-- before moving the portrait.

Secretary of State Brian Kemp is moving the portrait of civil rights icon the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to make space for the new portrait of outgoing Gov. Sonny Perdue.

A new location for King's likeness, on the north wall of the Capitol within sight of its current spot, also will space to include interpretive material about King's significance, Kemp's spokesman said.

Kemp consulted with Rep. Calvin Smyre, D-Columbus, the former chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission, and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and other African-American leaders before moving the portrait.

Quinn, Christopher (2011-1-7). King portrait moved in Capitol to make space for outgoing governor's. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2011-1-10.

Smyre, a former Georgia Democratic Party chairman, told the AJC that he thought the new spot of Dr. King's portrait was a "good one."