Erik S. Lesser / EPA

A person reaches to touch the hand of the statue.

Bringing King’s statue into reality took multiple struggles. Officials had to negotiate with King’s family for the right to use his image. Then an artist was selected for the project, only to be killed in a motorcycle accident. After a lengthy screening, sculptor Martin Dawe was chosen to replace him.

David Goldman / AP

The Rev. Bernice King, right, daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., stands under a statue paying tribute to her father.

Bernice King said she hopes the erection of her father’s statue can now spark conversations about the impact of monuments in public spaces.

“This statue being unveiled today, I believe, also provides a sense of hope to a nation that is in turmoil once again, as many people around this nation are removing and taking down Confederate monuments,” she said.

David Goldman / AP

Members of Martin Luther King Jr.’s family and Georgia elected leaders stand in front of the statue.

Democratic state Rep. Calvin Smyre, who sponsored the bill to place the statue of King on Capitol grounds, believes the statue will be “inspiring and give hope to generations to come.”

“This tribute is important and a lasting statement about the value of inclusion, the strength of our diversity and the power of grace and how it changes hearts,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said. “This statue comes at a time when there are many conversations about historical monuments going on nationally and within the state. When the time comes, I’m confident in the city of Atlanta that we will walk it together as we have again, again and again.”

David Beasley / Reuters

A woman holds a program during the ceremony.

Erik S. Lesser / EPA

Yolanda King, 9, left, the granddaughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., holds her mother Arndrea Waters King’s hand.

David Goldman / AP