Statue of Kenneth Hahn, MLK unveiled at church

Wave Wire Services

COMPTON — A statue was unveiled March 27 at a local church, commemorating a special moment in 1961 when late Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn welcomed civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. at Los Angeles International Airport.

The art work depicts a picture captured when Hahn, the only elected official to show up that day, met with King on the airport tarmac and the two men shook hands. They spent the afternoon together, with Hahn showing King around his South Los Angeles district, visiting the L.A. Calvary Community Church of Compton and talking in his downtown office.

“That day that my father spent with Dr. King has always been a point of pride for me and my family,” L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said during a morning ceremony held at Archdiocese of North America Unitarian Universalist Church, where the statue is located.

“When I met Martin Luther King III, he shared with me that the kindness my father showed his father was important in their family as well,” she added.

Hahn said it was an “honor” to see the moment preserved in the statue and expressed her gratitude to everyone who helped make it possible.

Kenneth Hahn served on the Los Angeles City Council from 1947 to 1952, and then voters elected him to serve on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, which he did for 40 years from 1952 to 1992.

Among his many accomplishments, he was known for supporting civil rights during the turbulent political battles of the 1960s.

Bishop L.J. Guillory, ombudsman general for Ombudsman International Inc. — a nonprofit corporation that acts as a government oversight agency to investigate complaints of corruption by public employees as well as government agents and contractors — joined Hahn for the ceremony.

“This day is about coming together to overcome bigotry and hate. It is about celebrating anti-racism. It is about doing what is right — whether popular or not,” Guillory said in a statement. “Both Dr. King and [Kenneth] Hahn set an example that we all should follow every day of our lives. Both were honorable public servants who selflessly served mankind. That service went across race, color, sex, and religious barriers.

“That’s why we have the statue today,” he added.