Bahamas to Erect Bust of Dr Martin Luther King Jr in Bimini

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Above: Bimini (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

In 1964, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr went to the Bahamas to work on his Nobel Prize Acceptance speech. King traveled to Bimini, the westernmost island in the Bahamian archipelago and a frequent haunt of Ernest Hemingway.

It was the first of two visits to Bimini (he returned to write another speech in 1968) where he memorably went bonefishing, taken along by boatbuilder and now-local historian Ansil Saunders and then-Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr, who also made a home on the island.

Now, the Bahamas plans to commemorate the event in what is a quickly-growing tourist destination (and home to the country’s largest marina at the Bimini Bay Resort).

In October, the government plans to unveil a bust of Dr King, placed in the mangroves near which King and Saunders went bonefishing in 1964 and 1968, it announced Wednesday.

“Dr King’s feeling was that only God could have created this spot with its pristine environment,” Prime Minister Perry Christie said. “It is critical to the building up of our country.”

The bust will be designed by noted sculptor Erik Blome. As part of the launch, the government is creating a scholarship for Bahamian students to attend the Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Fla.

The aim of the project is to bring attention to King’s time in Bimini, according to the government. The bust will be unveiled Oct. 7.

Bimini’s tourism profile has been on the rise of late with the continued development of the Bimini Bay Resort and its Rockwell Island residential component.

In mid-December, Mayalsian gaming firm Genting plans to open a casino at the resort.