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Edwards, Daniel MLK, Jr. and RFK: Landmark for Peace, 1995


Born in Indiana, Daniel Edwards graduated from the Herron School of Art in 1994 and served on the faculty there from just after his graduation until 1997. He also attended the New York Academy of Art’s Graduate School of the Figurative Arts and has taught at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Connecticut. He made a series of sculptures of players from the Negro Baseball League as well as sculptures of noted Olympic athletes. These works were exhibited in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games and many are part of the permanent collection of the National Art Museum of Sport. Edwards also designed the gold medal that is awarded for the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, which bears the figure of Josef Gingold, founder of the competition, carved in bas-relief.

  • MLK, Jr. and RFK: Landmark for Peace, 1995
  • Life-size
  • City of Indianapolis, Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Keywords: sculpture, casts, bronze
  • Subjects: people, men, presidents, hands, memorials, handguns, peace

Indianapolis designer Greg Perry’s design for the MLK, Jr. and RFK sculpture was selected from a field of over fifty entries in a juried competition. The work was made in commemoration of Kennedy’s speech in Indianapolis on the eve of King’s assassination April 4, 1968. The bronze sculpture is located in Martin Luther King Park at 17th and Broadway streets, on the spot in downtown Indianapolis where Kennedy delivered his brief yet powerful speech. The work consists of two walls facing each other from which figures of King and Kennedy reach toward each other in a gesture of friendship and goodwill. The idea was to show the historical importance of these two great Americans and to express their ideals of peace, brotherhood, and unity among all races in America. As the project unfolded, Perry worked with figurative sculptor Daniel Edwards, who sculpted and oversaw casting of the figures. Included in the overall sculptural composition are bronze plaques, one of which contains the entire text of Kennedy’s speech, the other contains remnants of melted-down handguns turned in to police as part of a community buy-back program, thus transforming weapons of violence into a sculpture dedicated to peace and understanding.

Some Points To Consider

  • Ask students to explain why this sculpture is meaningful to African Americans in Indiana. (Social Studies 4.1.11)
  • Allow class time for students to research the civil rights movement and decide if this sculpture by Edwards interprets it well. Ask them: What are the sensory and expressive qualities? Is the sculpture technically well done? (Art 4.1.1, 4.1.2, 4.3.1)
  • Ask students to describe the ways this sculpture might help citizens think about peace. (Art 4.1.2, 4.3.2)