Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Opinion of The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

I saw the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on Monday, August 22nd, one day before the historic 5.8 earthquake on Tuesday, August 23rd and five days before Hurricane Irene swung through on Saturday, August 27th, both of which we experienced in D.C.

The statue itself is a beautiful, striking, very impressive piece of work. The memorial overall is nice (though both are smaller in person then I thought they would be) and the quotes by Dr. King on all the walls are powerful and moving (had me re-reading some of my books on him and wanting to get more) however and I could be wrong on this, if I am, I stand corrected, I did not see any quotes from Dr. King's "Beyond Vietnam" speech where he speaks against the Vietnam War but I was not surprised about that.

In my opinion, anytime The Federal Government is going to put their official stamp on a memorial to honor a black man, depending on who that black man is and what his stance was, and what he lived his life for and died fighting for, I think certain quotes are going to be left out or re-worded.

On one hand, I am happy this memorial was done, on the other hand, I honestly think they could have chosen probably up to 10 or 20 other poses of Dr. King. From what I've heard The King Family approved this final image so as they say, it now is what it is.

Some folks who have seen it were so moved by it they cried. Some thought he looks too mean or angry. Some thought he should look this way as if he's saying, we still have a long way to go and there still is no need to smile, a justified, uncompromising pose. Some are totally happy with it. Like all art, it is subjective upon the viewer's eyes as to their interpretation.

I followed this story pretty much from the groundbreaking via black press and black radio, including getting all the updates and overall, I wish the groups that handled the whole memorial would have been more inclusive of many others ideas, visions, input, insight, etc. instead of so exclusive as to all the decisions and choices. Even if as it's been reported, a Black American Stone Sculptor was not found or chosen for this project, and that was why they chose a Chinese stone sculptor, I would have liked to seen more Black artists considered who submitted conceptual designs of the overall memorial as the final 10 picks for consideration, etc. From what I understand a local DC black owned and operated architectural company was involved in the project but not the statue itself.

Poet and author Maya Angelou said in an article today that the recently unveiled monument to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. is inscribed with a quote taken out of context that makes the preacher seem "arrogant." See

In my opinion, none of the encrypted words came off as arrogant to me but I do think it is a good catch by Dr. Angelou that they paraphrased some of his words and quotes on the inscriptions on the walls. I agree one's quotes should not be paraphrased, especially not in stone and esp not in one's own memorial.

Because of Hurricane Irene hitting D.C. the weekend of August 27th-28th, there was an announcement by the Committee that they are postponing the official ceremony to some time in September or October or possibly indefinitely.

Tom Joyner told Rev. Sharpton this morning to suggest to the MLK Memorial Committee that the MLK Memorial Dedication should be moved to MLK's Holiday: Monday, January 16th, 2012.

Ultimately, I feel like all things in life, It's All Divine. The MLK Tribute will take place exactly when it's supposed to take place and not a day earlier or a day later. It's on God's Time so I'm good with that. I'm glad I got to see it on Monday night ahead of both the earthquake and the storm.

Statues are forever so we have a long time to talk about this and discuss it and even critique it but I do look forward to all the discussions and especially the black writers and black bloggers pov's after they see it as well. I think people in the upcoming weeks opinions on the memorial will be very varied honestly. ~LT

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