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.”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:
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.”
"...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)