Did you see the news about the memorial to Rev. King that just opened at the National Mall in Washington? It's a huge stone, over 30 feet tall, containing 14 of Rev. King's quotes from his speeches, writings and sermons. Noticeably absent, though, is his most famous "I Have A Dream" speech. Very strange that quote would be excluded when it is what he is most known for.
The monument joins memorials to Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt, and it is the first one honoring a black American. It is fitting that it be dedicated in such a place of honor as The National Mall. Dr. King came to prominence when the nation was split, Blacks vs. Whites. Through those very trying times Dr. King preached peace and harmony and always demonstrated peaceful dissent. He gave his life in a violent event, but he left Americans with the lesson that peaceful demonstration can achieve great changes.
And yet there is great controversy swirling around Dr. King's memorial over choosing Lei Yixin, a master sculptor from Hunan province, China, to design and create the monument. The question has arisen, why wasn't an American artist chosen to build such an important item that will be on display in Washington forever?
Mr. Lei carried out almost all of the work in Changsha, China. He used more than 150 granite blocks weighing over 1600 tons which were shipped from Xiamen to Baltimore and reassembled by a team of 100 workmen, including 10 Chinese stone masons who were brought to American specifically for the project.
So I have a question. Was this really a job that an American sculptor could not do? I believe there are many, many American sculptors who would have been honored to work on this project and who would have done an outstanding rendition of Dr. King. I can't imagine what King would say about his likeness being conceived and created by someone living under a Communist government. Dr. King gave his life for freedom for all, and Communist China is far from free.
So again, we send jobs overseas, not only the sculptor, but the assemblers. One has to wonder why King Foundation management would hire a foreigner, who has no historical connection to Dr. King, instead of an American, who could have instilled real heart and soul into this important piece of art and at the same time would have been providing jobs for a number of Americans.
Oh, one last bit of info. Dr. King's family charged the foundation responsible for building the monument about $800,000 to use Dr. King's word and image. I suppose it's like a "licensing" fee. Gee, I wonder if the families of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Jefferson received a "licensing" fee?
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