Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Bust, 2004
1219 West 76th Street
During her lifetime, internationally renowned sculptor and painter Tina Allen (1950-2008) created a number of monumental sculptures of prominent blacks, including labor leader A. Philip Randolph, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, author Alex Haley, South African President Nelson Mandela and life-size sculptures of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the University of Texas at Austin and in the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza in North Las Vegas.
This bust is located in front of a recreational facility recently named by the Chicago Park District in honor of Dr. King. Donations from the 17th Ward Democratic organization and the St. Sabina Outreach Ministry funded the cost of the $20,000 sculpture.
The leader of the Civil Rights Movement had strong ties with Chicago. In January 1966, King and his wife moved into an apartment at 1550 South Hamlin Avenue. The Chicago Freedom Movement was an effort to draw attention to the city's poor housing conditions, create opportunities and improve living conditions.
Allen spent her early years in the West Indies and was a graduate of Visual Arts in New York and the University of South Alabama, and continued with advance studies at Pratt Institute and the University of Venice, Italy. She worked in Los Angeles until her death. Of her sculptures she stated during a 2003 interview with National Public Radio, "I'm looking at myself as speaking about the heart and soul of a people, and making sure they're not forgotten, making sure they don't feel ignored."