Passion or vandalism? Chalk writing removed from Kennedy-King memorial


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Over the weekend in the space just to the right of Robert Kennedy’s likeness, someone wrote the words “lets heal the division” in white on the Landmark for Peace memorial at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

The vandal, who signed the phrase “from N.C,” appeared to be parroting an impromptu speech delivered by Democrat presidential candidate Robert Kennedy to a crowd of supporters gathered in the park just minutes after King died on April 4, 1968.

“What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another,” said Kennedy.

LeRoy Seats, a retired broadcast professional, was in the park that night. Now he lives across the street from the monument. Seats remembers the crowd reaction as Kennedy delivered the news of King’s assassination.

“Oh man, first there was silence because everyone was in disbelief and then directly after that, Kennedy told everybody, especially the blacks, to not get in an uproar, which did happen, but not like it did elsewhere” said Seats.

The memorial to Kennedy and King was erected in the exact location where Kennedy stood that night.

The Landmark for Peace memorial at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, as seen from WISH-TV’s Avi8or drone. (WISH Photo)

News 8 received this statement about the vandalism on behalf of the Kennedy King Memorial Initiative:

“The Kennedy King Memorial Initiative encourages the community to come together to have candid and courageous conversations, but does not condone expressing those thoughts by defacing public property. The statements written in chalk on the Landmark for Peace Memorial this past weekend were not derogatory or harmful, simply an act of passion. We collaborated with our partners to have them promptly removed, ensuring the memorial remains a place that inspires people to seek to eliminate division and justice in our community.”

KKMI managing partner Lena Hackett

Over the years, the transgressions of a few have left visible scars in the metal, but Seats said nothing can erase his memories of that night.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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