All Articles Tagged "MLK"
Does race play a major part in preserving one’s family history? What if you are from one of the most significant lineages this turn of the century? Virginia Beach’s Conservative Examiner article titled, “MLK family makes a fortune from memorial statue…press ignores,” questions the supposed racketeering, committed by the King children, and how they are profiting from their father’s priceless legacy. But what they failed to include was the protection of image, known as copyright, and how it applies to every single aspects of a person’s public life works, whether living or deceased.
The memorial to Martin Luther King Jr is set to be officially unveiled on August 28th. As a symbol of leadership and a monumental champion of civil rights, it goes without saying that this ode to the late, great MLK was long overdue. The 3-story tall memorial sits on 4 acres and cost $250 million to build. Although this large monument will be an important one for Washington DC, it’s good to know that the nation’s capital boasts other monuments to groundbreaking African-American leaders. Here’s a few:
Asa Philip Randolph (1888-1979)
Randolph was not only the “chief organizor” of the historical March on Washington in 1963, he was also an important organizer in worker’s rights for black railroad porters. He founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which was a significant milestone in African-American labor organizing. Today, his monument is appropriately stationed at the Union Station where Amtrak trains depart.
(Detroit Free Press) — In the nation’s capital, on the banks of the Tidal Basin, a new memorial opened Monday — one that many believed might never come. A 30-foot-tall vision of a resolute Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., rising from a block of granite, peering across the peaceful waters toward the neoclassical pillars and dome of the Jefferson Memorial. Behind him, across Independence Avenue, stands the Lincoln Memorial — the site of the slain civil rights leader’s most famous speech 48 years ago. ”I think it’s beautiful — just as beautiful as the Lincoln or the Jefferson or any other memorials,” said Renee Robinson, 49, of Washington, D.C. “It makes you think there’s hope out here.”
(Washington Post) — District residents will have the chance for an exclusive tour of the new $120 million Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial on Aug. 23, a day after it opens to the public and days before a star-studded dedication where President Obama is scheduled to speak. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, flanked by civil rights activists, Wednesday announced D.C. Resident Day, along with other city events that will coincide with the King memorial dedication. “All too often, when national events happen, the District of Columbia is an afterthought,” Gray (D) said in an interview. “We wanted our citizens to come see this and hopefully be motivated by the memorial.”
(Wall Street Journal) — When we remember the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we think of his soaring rhetoric and specific goals for the African-American community: the right to use public accommodations, to vote, and to live in any neighborhood, for instance. Today the quest for the right to vote has been replaced by the need to motivate people to register and vote. The push to integrate schools has been replaced by the need to motivate black students to strive for academic excellence. The struggle for equal housing opportunities has become a struggle to ensure that blacks learn how to live financially responsible lives and recover from the foreclosure crisis.
Almost three weeks prior to his assassination, the late Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered one of his most riveting and poignant speeches in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan. Though not as well known as some of his other great speeches (e.g., “I Have a Dream, Beyond Vietnam), this undaunted oration was equivocally important. In the midst of an affluent, conservative and predominantly white crowd of over 2,700 people, Dr. King brilliantly discussed the problem of race and economics in the face of significant hostility and angry protesters.
With an almost perfect backdrop of the relatively wealthy and suburban Grosse Pointes brushed against the struggling urban landscapes of Detroit, Dr. King discussed a metaphorical yet literal dualism that was fairly ubiquitous throughout this nation during that current time and space. Specifically, Dr. King discussed that there was “One America” that consisted of citizens who enjoyed material abundance and prosperity, decent education, cultural stimulation, spiritual freedom, respect and dignity.
Then, there was the “Other America.” Conversely, this America embodied despair, hopelessness, discouragement, poverty, dilapidated housing, inadequate education and a lack of basic necessities. Is this “Other America” that Dr. King discussed still present and relevant today? Or, was this American “apartheid” just a divisive and extreme figment of Dr. King’s imagination that was unimportant and invalid both in 1968 and in these current times?
Upon examination, one of the primary components of the “Other America” speech was the problem of racism. Dr. King was unabashed in stating that the country had to come to terms with and recognize that racist thoughts and practices were antithetical to the American democratic experiment. In our current time and space, there are certain commentators who believe that we now live in a post-racial and colorblind America, where racism and bigotry have come to an end and divisive and artificial categorizations (i.e., races) cease to remain.
To be sure, race relations have improved when benchmarked to March of 1968 when Dr. King gave this speech. But, it is relatively safe to state that our nation is still reluctant to have candid recognition and discourse about the problem of racism. To a large degree, I agree with Attorney General Holder’s relatively controversial assessment that we are a “nation of cowards” when it comes to the topic of race relations.
And, when we analyze a snapshot of recent inflammatory statements and actions such as the Governor of Maine telling the NAACP to kiss his butt; a prominent evangelical Christian exclaiming that the Haitian earthquake was a blessing in disguise for a cursed people; a New York gubernatorial candidate stating that welfare recipients from the inner city should volunteer to go to prison; African-American Congressional lawmakers being spit on by Tea Party demonstrators; and, a Louisiana justice of peace denying a marriage license to an interracial couple, one can see that genuine repentance, on the whole, is still needed and at least this portion of Dr. King’s speech is still relevant for today.
In the “Other America” discussion, Dr. King also debunked several myths about the African-American community- namely, time, legislation and the bootstrap philosophy. Dr. King made it crystal clear that the aloof thoughts that “only time can solve the problem of racial injustice” and “legislation can’t solve problems” are significantly erroneous in nature. For the most part, this indifference and negative form of thinking is not only seen in havens of right-wing extremists and plutocratic nihilists but also in the halls of Capitol Hill.
When Congressional lawmakers propose to take billions away from the food stamp program to offset costs of another piece of legislation, threaten to let the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone unless the wealthiest constituents of our country are included, impede progress on necessary education reform because of political posturing and seek to repeal health care reform that will help over 30 million Americans, one realizes that the abovementioned thoughts that Dr. King noted are still relevant today.
And, of the course, the age-old conservative argument that myriad African-Americans find themselves in an unfortunate predicament, because they are simply not willing to lift themselves up by the bootstraps. To be sure, personal accountability is absolutely necessary in living an abundant life. But, it is extremely arrogant and disrespectful for one to think that they accomplished everything without any help from anyone and from especially God. I would opine that many African-Americans try their best to raise themselves from an impoverished state but there is only so much lifting that can be done when their bootstraps are broken by despair, discouragement and oppressive forces. Listening to Speaker of the House Boehner, “Mrs. Refudiate” Palin and other unfeeling individuals still targeting this message at African-Americans is very disheartening.
On the whole, is Dr. King’s “Other America” still vibrant and relevant in our current time and space? Unfortunately, this metaphorical yet literal dualism still exists and will continue to persist until we move beyond partisan rancor, indifference and vitriolic words and move toward genuine recognition, repentance, love and unity, as President Obama eloquently discussed during the recent memorial service in Tuscon.
(Washington Post) — Forty-seven years ago this weekend, on a sweltering August day often remembered simply as the March on Washington, my father delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. A memorial to him is being erected at the Tidal Basin, not far from where he shared his vision of a nation united in justice, equality and brotherhood.