Thursday, August 25, 2011

MLK memorial dedication a bittersweet reminder...


I've been thinking a lot about Dr. King since I first read about the dedication and I have to admit, Sunday's dedication will be particularly bittersweet for me.

Bitter - because like me and others, I think "Dr. King Would Be Appalled" with "The Corporate King Memorial and The Burial of a Movement."   I look at the body languange of the statue - it's crossed arms and stern face - and I thought, "How very closed and uninviting they've portrayed him!" I agree with Alan Caruba at the first link, when he says:

It is also one of the most hideous works of “art” imaginable for anyone who recalls the times and the character of a man who said, “I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I am interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.”

The statue depicts a scowling figure, his face fixed with the look of every despot whose statue is intended to instill fear or awe in those who gaze upon it. His arms are crossed over his chest as if protecting himself or preparing to pass a harsh judgment.

It is hideous because it completely obliterates the gentleness of Dr. King, the heart that strove against injustice. The awfulness of the statue reminded me of another of his quotes, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

I have no idea what the memorial committee had in mind when it sanctioned this statue, but I have little doubt that Dr. King would have been mortified by it. He was a man who, on that long ago evening on the Drew University campus, greeted Vivian and me with a big smile in the midst of a great struggle to secure the rights of blacks in America.

In these times in which Arabs in Syria, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia have put their lives on the line to overthrow their tyrants, Dr. King had anticipated that human aspiration saying, “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
None of that takes anything away from the stick-to-it-ivness of the brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (inactive for longer than I was active - for my own reasons), I salute you for your six-year struggle to make this "dream" a reality!  But I can't help but agree with my brother Jared Ball at the second link:
"...given the vicious re-imaging King suffered before his assassination, the vitriol he withstood from a nation determined to resist the change he represented, and given the post-assassination routine destruction of his advancing radical politics, it is simply not hard to determine just what this memorial intends to convey or the present meaning it intends to define."
And I can't help but think of all the Black million/billionaires, who, along with us common folk, could have helped make this memorial possible - without the corporate help - so it could have been something WE wanted and did on our own (Hell, the publicity pimp extraordinaire and his National Action Network collected a whole buncha money from Black folk!). Yeah, I know, that's not how it's done in America - but who says, because that's the way it's always been, that's the way it always has to be??!!

The fact that the Changeling will be speaking at the dedication of a statue of a man, whose name he couldn't even bring himself to utter during his acceptance of the Democratic nomination, also makes my jaw tight.  No doubt he will channel Dr. King in his delivery (as he always does, particularly when speaking to Black folk!). But hopefully, this man "without a culture" - will be dwarfed by, rather than conflated with - the significance of the moment, especially since we all know, or ought to, that he's not been willing, nor able to even attempt the love, sincerity, ideals or humanity of a man who chose to stand up - rather than sit down and go with the flow.

Sweet - because Dr. Martin Luther King DESERVES to be memorialized. He has been to America, a voice, "crying out in the wilderness" (as brother nomad says about those of us, not blinded by the Changeling's bullshit ) - one that is STILL sorely needed today.

P.S:  A little off-topic (but kinda not) - I'm sitting here watching the documentary, "Holy Water - Gate:  Abuse Cover-up in the Catholic Church" (if you get a chance, do watch!).  A priest, who'd also been abused as a young adolescent (by a priest), just said, "Hope, has two lovely daughters - anger and courage."  It struck me, how lacking the Changeling is in both, while Dr. King had them both - in abundance (Caruba's POV notwithstanding - y'all white folk can go ahead and fool yourselves that he was not an Angry Black Man if you want to!  I didn't say hateful - I said Angry, there is a difference).

UPDATE:  No Way to Honor Dr. King (very interesting)

7 comments:

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

I haven’t followed the links and read the articles in full, because if a quote exist I think you would have caught it, and that quote that I am looking for is (or maybe it is more of a question and not a quote), “Why is he cut off at the knees?” He cannot walk. What is that saying? Why depict a man that attempting to march forward and at times successfully so, as a man stuck, stuck, stuck, stuck.

Deb said...

Hey Kitty! Leave it to you to see past the, "Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!" :-)

And what a great obervation it is! He is, in fact, "cut off at the knees!!!" And no, there was no relevant quote regarding that particular question! His, is the "Stone of Hope," carved out of the "Mountain of Despair."

Here's Johnson's quote: "...the goal of the design is for you to be invited in. The second goal is that, as you pass through what we call the Mountain of Despair — two large boulders of granite, 30 feet tall — it appears as though you're going through a struggle of the civil rights movement.

Once you're on the other side, you see a crescent-shaped wall with 14 quotations from Dr. King. Then when you walk out toward the Tidal Basin, you see the third stone — one that looks like it was carved out of the Mountain of Despair. And Dr. King is standing there, and we call that the Stone of Hope."


I guess it symbolizes that we're still "hoping" - seein' as he's cut off at the knees and all.

Dammit Kitty! Now, that shit's even more "bittersweet!"

The more interesting interchange at that link was this one:

"Corey Dade: Plenty of big ideas have come from "kitchen cabinet" pow-wows — or from a dining table, in this case. But a national monument? How did the fraternity brothers arrive at it?

Harry E. Johnson Sr.: They thought we needed to have more people of color visit the National Mall. So in thinking about that, they felt the best way to have people of color visit was to have a person of color on the Mall. Quite naturally the name they came up with was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


So, what he did, what he gave his damned life for - was not the first motivation?

The Fabulous Kitty Glendower said...

That update link you provided is off the hook. I mean, Chinese masons and Chinese rock. And that list of corporate scoundrels.......

White people can wring every useful purpose possible out of a stone (that's a pun). The Chinese are right there, ---and the Jews.

Deb said...

"White people can wring every useful purpose possible out of a stone (that's a pun). The Chinese are right there, ---and the Jews."

Yeah, but what does that say about us (the Foundation anyway)accepting all those scoundrels' money to build a statue for a man who vehemently rebuked everything they stand for?

Well, at least one Jew is speaking out against the "wringing" - the woman who wrote the piece at the update link. I'm sure old Madeline didn't appreciate that in the least!

nomad said...

It is really sad. Like Jared Ball said. The burial of a movement. That "cut off at the knees" observation is really sharp (thx Kitty). I am dismayed that there are so few black people aware of the corporate sham being perpetrated here, but the greater sham of corporate presidency. I wonder if King saw this when he looked over into the promised land. The black otherwise populist leaders writers and what not aligning themselves with a corporate conservative president; simply because of the color of his skin. At the very least they should be pushing Obama, agitating against his regressiveness, insisting that he do better. Take him at his word, in this one particular instance. If these Obamites want him to make progressive positive efforts on the behalf of the people, they are going have to "make him do it". And that does not meaning going along with every shitty deal he arranges with Republicans. Otherwise, you are complicit in the greatest crime of the 21st century. Or this particular phase of it anyway.

Deb said...

nomad...Hey, Man! Yeah, it's really sad indeed, and Ktty's "cut off at the knees" observation made it even more sad for me.

"I am dismayed that there are so few black people aware of the corporate sham being perpetrated here, but the greater sham of corporate presidency. "

I think a lot of it goes back to our agreement over at WARN, that they feel there's finally a Black monument/Black president - which overrides the critical thinking needed to see this masterfully orchestrated hoodwink and bamboozle. I had a wonderfully interesting conversation with a blog-sister of mine about exactly this, in the comments section here (http://lets-be-clear.blogspot.com/2010/01/whats-difference-between-colored-negro.html). Peruse at your leisure as it fleshes out what I'm trying to say.

"I wonder if King saw this when he looked over into the promised land."

Hard to know if he did or not, but I TELL YOU - there are so many situations regarding MLK and the Civil RIghts Movement during which I'd like to have been a fly on the wall! Working on a post about assimilation, after running across a piece in my link-hoard (libraries can finally get damned break!) about MLK and the Changeling that made me think more deeply about what I see in the former - manifested in the latter (and there is at least one thing!). It's a jumbled mess right now but I'll get it done.

"At the very least they should be pushing Obama, agitating against his regressiveness, insisting that he do better."

This society-identified Black man, endgenders a kind of "Mama/Family-Love" among Black folk particularly, and other POC in general, for a host of reasons (at least to me) that I can't fit here, in Blogger's 4,096 comment character limit but - think of the many people who absolutely refuse to believe their child/family member is/has been involved in some foul shit - despite concrete evidence to the contrary.

"Otherwise, you are complicit in the greatest crime of the 21st century. Or this particular phase of it anyway."

Yeah, Bruh - PLENTY of us are complicit - and not just in this particular phase...

Thx for droppin' in!

Deb said...

nomad...I forgot to say that my blog-sister, Cinie, regrettably, has deleted her WordPress blog. Trust me, it was well worth a microscopic read!

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