A few years ago when I learned about the Martin Luther King Jr. monument that was to be constructed in our nation’s capital, I got excited.
When I learned that the artist assigned to produce the sculpture of perhaps the most notable Negro in American history was a Negro himself, I got even more excited.
Not too long after hearing this news, I learned that the project leaders decided to go with another designer for the MLK monument. Not really a big deal because things often change on large initiatives, right?
The project leaders flipped the script and decided to bring on Chinese stoneworker, Lei Yixin. Making the changes even more controversial was decision to use Chinese granite for the memorial.
– Why not an American sculptor?
– Why not with American materials?
– Just why?
Yes, I was one of those people opposed to the statue after those changes. I wasn’t angry but I was very turned off.
Fast-forward to this summer when the MLK monument opened… I decided that I would not visit.
Fast-forward to this past weekend when I actually visited the monument… I broke down in a moment of DC tourist weakness.
The monument is HUGE. On grand scale. Attractive. And obviously missing the “Made in China” markings.
Even after being impressed by the size & style, I’m like meh… Then you add the fact that the monument is directly across from the Jefferson Memorial. Jefferson was not only a slave owner but a rapist of his female slaves. OK, let me calm down. I’m starting to get a racial tension headache up in here.
I wonder what MLK would think of his monument being constructed by people living under a communist regime that oppresses, jails and tortures citizens while restricting internet access… Wait, some of that happens in the US also.
Am I tripping?
BTW, the photo above was taken with my iPhone 4, which was “assembled in China.” I’m just saying.