A 5-foot-tall bust or Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has been finished by world-renowned sculptor Zenos Frudakis and is scheduled to be unveiled 2 p.m., Thursday, completing Chester, Pa.’s $500,000 Martin Luther King Jr. Park at Sixth and Engle streets.
Good for Chester to highlight its connections to one of the most influential and noble Americans of the 20th century. Rev. King lived in the city for three years serving Calvary Baptist Church , 1616 W. 2nd St., while studying at the Crozer Theological Seminary.
The park project came about as a result of a request in the late 1990s by members of the city’s clergy to honor Rev. King. Three decades after his death the city had not so much as named a street after him. Mayor Dominic Pileggi, now a state senator, suggested the park thinking that a street-naming might be a bit anticlimactic since at least 40 other cities had already done so.
And while the park was the right call there is nothing wrong with a street-naming as well. Changing 2nd Street where Rev. King’s old church lies, and which is State Route 291, into Martin Luther King Jr. Highway should be a no-brainer. Actually, it should be a no-brainer to do it for its entire length through Delaware County.
Always underestimated Delaware County for reasons unknown likes to keep quiet its connections to greatness.
Who, for instance, has heard of Philip Jaisohn ? Old-time county residents might remember him as their family doctor, but Jaisohn is the equivalent of Benjamin Franklin to the South Koreans. His home in Upper Providence was site of a pilgrimage by Korean President and Nobel peace laureate the late Kim Dae Jung.
While there is a memorial to Jaisohn in Rose Tree Park, one would think that there might be a street named for him somewhere as well.
One would think that the county’s tourist bureau would at least be trying to publicize these connections. Of course, when the county insists on calling itself Brandywine Country a serious problem of self-image is evident.