xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml'> Thinking Out Loud : August 2011


Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Statue
Aug 28th 2011 marks the 48th Anniversary of one of our nation's most memorable and historic events. This date marks the anniversary of the historic March on Washington lead by slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This march brought over 250,000 people to our nation's capitol, and on this autumn day in August Dr. King would give his most famous address entitled; "I Have A Dream." This stirring address given by Dr. King still rings in the hearts and minds of Americans as a pivotal point not just for the Civil Rights Movement, but a watershed moment for the entire country and maybe even the world.

In just a few days this historic occasion will be marked with what is being celebrated as one of the proudest moments in Black American History. Next to the inauguration of our nation's 1st Black President, this is truly a moment that will never be forgotten. On Sunday, August 28th the world will witness the unveiling of the newest addition to the collection of monuments in Washginton D.C. The MLK Monument will be officially unveiled, towering over 30ft tall, a fitting tribute to a man of monumental character and stature; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Crowds are expected to converge on this site from around the country and the world to witness this historic event. Pres. Barack Obama will be on hand to speak during the official unveiling and dedication of this beautifully sculpted Dr. King Monument. This will truly be a celebratory moment for our nation, as we pay tribute to a man who's tireless dedication to the movement of Civil Rights has brought us to where we are today. It's certainly been a long time coming, and we are extremely proud of what the monument stands for an represents.

This 120 million dollar endeavor was not just met with enthusiasm and excitement by those who were directly and indirectly responsible for its erection, but it was also met with controversey as well. Some groups spoke out against the design, the size, the scupltor and even the granite chosen for the statue. Chinese artist Lei Yixin was chosen to sculpt this enormous statue of this revered icon. And, his choosing was met with much criticisms, not just because of his race but because of his past projects as well. Lei has done scupltors of such leaders as Mao Zedong; who according to Anu Lau; chair of the Human Rights Guild, had one of the most egregious human rights records in the world. Some thought this monument should have done by an African American, after all Dr. King was an African American leader, And, who better to capture his ethnicity, likeness as well as his spirit than an African American. However, from the onsite of this campaign, Harry Johnson, President & CEO of the MLK Memorial Foundation set out to select an "extraordinary" artist to scuplt this monument, inasmuch as Dr. King was an "extraordinary man." 

This project took more than 15yrs to become a reality and even longer than that before it became an official campaign not just by the King family, but by the hundreds of thousands of stake holders that helped to make this dream a reality. This is the only monument dedicated to a non-president and the only African American statue in Washington D.C. The design itself is taken directly from his "I Have A Dream" speech, where he refers to "from the moutain of despair comes a stone of hope." The monument is comprised of three 30 foot stones, two of which are divided at the entrance, where visitors can walk through and see the third stone situated in the middle of this circular garden. And, Dr. King's likeness is carved out of the third stone which is called the "Stone of Hope." And, in this circular garden are 15 notable quotes of Dr. King's hand carved into stone that visitors can read as they take in the breath-taking atmosphere from this historic site.

MLK Monument and the Washington Monument
But, I wonder if Dr. King was asked what he thought of this kind of tribute, what would his thoughts be? What would he have to say about a monument erected on his behalf in our nation's capitol? Would he be appreciative of such a tribute, would he be humbled by the gesture; recognized and celebrated as one of our nations notable leaders. Standing along side men that led this country from our nation's highest office, would he feel that this tribute accurately depicted not just his likeness, but his spirit as a moral leader? Or, would he be compelled by his moral conscious to flee any such self aggrandizement as it may appear to be a sharp contrast to the true essence of the life he tried to live. Would he scoff at the amount of money invested in this endeavor, would he believed it would have been better used for some philanthropic campaign to feed the poor or the clothe the naked? Was this a fulfillment of a desire of his, or would he have thought that he himself was not worthy of such recognition? No one's sure what Dr. King would say about this monument, and I no way am attempting to speak for him by asking these questions. It is a simple consideration of what do we believe Dr. King's wishes would have been if he were alive to see this beautifully crafted monument to himself.

As many of our readers already know, I am a long time admirer and student of Dr. Martin Luther King. While I was not alive to witness his eloquence and splendor in the pulpit or participate in any of the historic marches of his time, he still has impacted my life in a very profound way. I have memorized and internalized many of his speeches as apart of my spiritual curriculum, as he was as much a prophet from God as he was a leader for so many people. I too am very proud of this monument and I celebrate with the rest of the country and world in its symbolism of freedom, justice and equality; moral tenets of which Dr. King stood for.

What are your thoughts on this MLK Memorial? What do you think Dr. King would say about it? How do you think he would feel about it as it relates to the continued struggles of our people? I'm reminded of the poiyant words Dr. King chose to sum up his life's most signicificant accomplishments in his last sermon entitled, "The Drum Major Instinct."

"If I can help somebody
As I pass along
If I can cheer somebody
With a Word or Song
If I can show someobdy
He's traveling wrong
Then my living will not be in a vain"

"If I do my duty
As a Christian ought
If I can bring salvation
To a world once wrought
If I can teach the message
As the Master taught
Then my living will not be in vain."

Truly words to live by!

Pastor Nimmons

What a virtual tour of the MLK Memorial