Martin Luther King Memorial Unveiled in Washington DC – The Martin Luther King Memorial was unveiled to the public in Washington DC today. The massive sculpture in granite, towers more than 30 feet on the shore of the Tidal Basin. The official opening of the sculpture will be done by President Obama this coming Sunday.
This sculpture of Rev. King is the first on this scale to be placed with the scuptures of other great Americans — Jefferson, Lincoln. The sculpture shows a stern looking King with hands folded across his chest. Some have already criticised it as following a style now out of favour.
The Tar Sands Action demonstrators seem to have been swept out of the area, but new demonstrators are making their presence known. Members of the local bricklayers union are handing out pamphlets letting people know their objections to the way the memorial was constructed.
The memorial to Rev. King is estimated costing abour $130 million. When plans for the work were formulated, the bricklayers claim that they were assured in writing that they would be part of the crew assembling it. It turned out differently for them. The granite for the statue was quarried in China; the sculptor chosen is a Chinese national; the crew putting it together was imported from China.
No Americans worked on this very important tribute to Rev. King. Rev. King was assassinated in 1968 on his way to support a sanitation union’s strike.
The chief executive of architecture firm McKissack & McKissack, Deryl McKissack, said that her great-great grandfather was a slave who learned the building trade from his overseer.
“Dr. King changed people’s minds, and now an African American woman can own a company and be a part of these projects — I just feel great everyday when I wake up.”
The expression of King’s sculpture was created from a collage of images that covered all four walls of Yixin’s studio. King’s mouth is a grim line, his brow is furrowed and his gaze intense as he looks off into the distance.
One visitor to the new memorial said she believes King would be pleased if he could see how far the United States has come since the 1960s.
“He would be ecstatic because President Obama is in the White House and that is a huge step,” said Nydria Humphries, who hung on the fence outside before the memorial opened to the the public. She wore a T-shirt with an eagle and the stripes of the American flag.
“That’s all MLK stood for,” said Humphries, who is currently looking for work. “If we can just learn to live together, then we all can have a better life.”
Martin Luther King Memorial Unveiled in Washington DC