NAACP leading fund drive to create King memorial here

Published 8:41 am Saturday, June 28, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Niles NAACP will today have its first event to raise money to create in Niles a memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., slain civil rights leader.
Georgia Boggs, memorial chairperson, said the organization is just getting off the ground with the project.
The first port-a-pit chicken fundraiser for the project will be held at the Niles Inn and Conference Center at 930 S. 11th St., in Niles, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Although nothing is set in stone yet, Boggs said the creation of a Kings Memorial is something she and many others in the community have thought about for a long time.
Boggs also said a 10-person committee have been working on the project for quite some time.
Although they haven't found a location for the memorial yet and are still looking at options, Boggs said Niles' train station would be a good place for the memorial.
Boggs said it would also be an appropriate place because King travelled a lot.
Letters have already been sent out to businesses and chambers of commerce in the Michiana area where Niles' National Association for the Advancement of Colored People are asking for donations for the memorial.
Boggs, however, doesn't really see anything happening until next year.
But, she expects a lot of focus will be put on the memorial effort in January during the celebration of King's birthday.
The memorial would be the first of King in this area, but Boggs said there is a statue of King at the Kalamazoo's train station.
Boggs isn't sure what form the memorial will take. Much depends on the cost.
She hopes King's memory, and what he stood for, will be strengthened by the presence of a memorial her in Niles.
Boggs said as they are trying to build this community, the erection of a King Memorial is just one part of that. The memorial committee is looking for volunteers interested in helping the memorial committee.
She said the committee has also established a Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial account with First Source Bank that people can use to donate money to the memorial project.
For more information about the King's Memorial, call the Rev Saundria Wilson, NAACP president at (269) 684-0595.