What Would Pastor King Think of the MLK Memorial?
The memorial has been a long time coming. Now that it is opened, what do you think his family, in fact, ML King himself, would think about it?
Wiki coyright free pictures of MLK in various situations
Do you see one where he is scowling or with arms crossed as if he is angry?
Martin Luther King and Lyndon Johnson
Mrtin Luther King leaning on a lectern
Martin Luther King and Malcolm X
Martin Luther King, Jr. 1964
Where were you in the early 1960's?
I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. I was most impressionable during the early 1960's. To say I have a strong memory of race riots, segregation and desegragation as well as Peace Walks and sit in's is like saying I know how to make sweet tea. I didn't see the segregation until 1960, although it had been a part of southern life for hundreds of years.
There were three main rules of thumb concerning desegregation. Beliefs, opinions or feelings, it all came down to the fact that every person had to think about and take a stand on the issue of segregation.
As a young girl it was not a difficult thing to do. I was, stll am, a romantic and had devoured Rudyard Kipling, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. It was from these authors that I came to my own decision about other human beings. It was easy to see that what was taking place was wrong. Human beings should help one another, not fight and certainly should not hate someone because they are different. In the end, that is what the time was about; not black against white but that one was different from another.
The Pastor M. L. King said it himself.
"I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be."
What does that sentence mean? The Pastor used it a speech he gave about reality, about belief of interrelated structure of our world. He was ifluenced by Muhatma Gandhi and this philosophy was not easy for cookie cutter Southerners to understand. A southerner during that era was not very different from the southerner next door. So, for anyone, and especially a black man, to start talking about what we should be and do for one another was not accepted by the majority.
One person that was supportive of the Pastor was the Reverand Billy Graham. Although the evangelist took the long road throughout the 1950's concerning desegregation, when he chose, he chose well. Sitting and watching a crusade on television with both the Pastor and the Reverand was like a bright light coming on after the electricity has been off all night long.
However, what does all that have to do with the MLK Memorial?
Weren't we supposed to be talking about what the Pastor would say about it?
I cannot tell you why it was only today that I saw the memorial for the first time. I knew that a Chinese sculptor (Lei Yixin) had been chosen to do the memorial but had never seen anything on the internet or the news that showed the work in progress. It was this morning that I saw and read about the memorial for the first time.
It is a grand piece of sculpture. The slices of the rock cut into three segments is a telling image. The words from the Pastor's speeches carved into the stone is moving.
The sculpture itself is no where near the truth of how and what Martin Luther King was as a person. In fact, it is more a resemblance of the Chairman than of the Pastor.
I know that sentence will not garner me any friendships.
Nonetheless. Look at the scowling face and the crossed arms hard against the chest. The mouth is non moving. There is no light from that visage. it is not a living form. It is a billboard and it does not even come across as a good advertisement.
In trying to find a photo of the Pastor I came across many, many photos that show him smiling, speaking fervantly, watching intently even pondering. However I could not find any photographs where he was angry, out of temper or about to hurt someone. So peaceful of a man that he did not show anger when he was assasinated.
However, decide for yourself. Look at the memorial then look at the photographs of the Pastor from the 1950's and 1960's. I cannot help but wonder, how would Mr King like to be remembered?
Scheduled to open 08282011