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I have a dream...
August 22, 2011 11:50 AM   Subscribe

The Washington Mall welcomes another hero. The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is unveiled. Sitting directly between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, "the composition of the [King] memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King's message: justice, democracy, hope and love."

Only four times in history has a monument to a single individual been installed on the National Mall in Washington D.C. (Washington in 1885, Lincoln in 1922, Jefferson in 1943 and FDR in 1997). The peak blooming time of the beautiful cherry trees surrounding the memorial will coincide with the anniversary of King's assassination (April 4th).
posted by darkstar (72 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow that's pretty amazing looking.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 11:51 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Groovy, and a welcome addition! The hologographic tourists in those illustrations are kind of creepy, but the real memorial is very cool looking, if oddly familiar.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:55 AM on August 22, 2011


er, holographic.
posted by FelliniBlank at 11:55 AM on August 22, 2011


It's amazing how ideas such as.. "Let's take a gigantic boulder and cut a huge piece out of it" or, "A black angled wall that rises out of the ground and returns on the other side, with names on it." can become such gorgeous memorials/works of art. Can't wait to see this next time I make it to DC.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:56 AM on August 22, 2011


Huh. I live in the DC area and have heard a lot of discussion about this, but I did not realize it was actually being built in the world of Final Fantasy - the Spirits Within.

That's pretty cool, actually.
posted by Naberius at 12:00 PM on August 22, 2011


I lived in DC in 2008, pretty close to the Mall, and I guess I just never noticed this going up. Or wasn't able to distinguish this construction from the rest of the mess that was the west end of the Mall at the time.

Still, cool.
posted by valkyryn at 12:02 PM on August 22, 2011


Maya Lin's work is genius, because it works away from this kind of heroics, into the genuine democratic instinct--this doesn't do that--and the fracturing of the rock, but not having any mosiac, seems to go against King's message.
posted by PinkMoose at 12:04 PM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I look forward to seeing this the next time I can visit DC. The last time I was there, walking through the Lincoln and FDR memorials was incredibly moving. They articulated the greatness that this nation aspires to (though rarely reaches).
posted by kmz at 12:06 PM on August 22, 2011


As a super minor point, there's at least two more monuments dedicated to a single person on the Mall proper or on the defacto Mall: John Ericsson (as much on the Mall as the new MLK memorial is) and Ulyssess S. Grant (one of the conventional eastern boundaries for the Mall).

It'll be good to see this in person when I get a chance, since I've been peaking through the construction barriers around the site for the past several years. I'm also glad that this was able to get through before monument/museum fatigue sets in for the Mall area. Although honestly, the WWII memorial almost did that for me.
posted by skynxnex at 12:08 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, um, I was kind of digging it until I got to the 30-ft statue, lookin' all stern. This is a personal bias, but to me it says "I am a dictator obsessed with my legacy after death."
posted by muddgirl at 12:10 PM on August 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


EarthCam live construction camera.
posted by smackfu at 12:12 PM on August 22, 2011


Wow, that's actually pretty amazing.
posted by lackadaisical at 12:15 PM on August 22, 2011


It is pretty nice finally to have someone who never held elected office treated as worth our nation's consideration.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:16 PM on August 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh man. He looks badass. I love it.
posted by robstercraw at 12:17 PM on August 22, 2011


I wonder what King would think about a monumental statue in his likeness being built while the nation was embroiled in an unwinnable foreign war that primarily affects the lower classes?

Maybe we can bring the troops home, use the savings to fund housing and education for the poor and call THAT "the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument"?
posted by Avenger at 12:17 PM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, um, I was kind of digging it until I got to the 30-ft statue, lookin' all stern.

Okay, thank you. I felt odd wanting to bring it up, but since you've broken the ice I guess I will follow. The giant statue, in this case, really, really gets to me. This was a man who marched in the streets with the rest of the people fighting for civil rights. The best tribute I could think of would be a statue of his exact measurements, so people could see that this was just a man who did this, and not a giant figure hewed from stone.
posted by griphus at 12:19 PM on August 22, 2011 [31 favorites]


Ideally the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument should be an elevation of the underprivileged, and not a park with pink trees.

But this is neat too.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:22 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


A better tribute would be giant flatscreens and a sound system playing his speeches, particularly the anti-war ones that caused him to fall out of favor with the US establishment, aimed at The White House and the Capitol building.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 12:22 PM on August 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


This is a personal bias, but to me it says "I am a dictator obsessed with my legacy after death."

I agree, the pose does rather make it look like he's just instructed all cadres to strive diligently to increase steel production in keeping with the Five Year Plan.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 12:23 PM on August 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


To be fair, I think the cherry blossom trees were already there.
posted by muddgirl at 12:25 PM on August 22, 2011


At first I got excited that he's not dead but rather just frozen in carbonite.
posted by brain_drain at 12:26 PM on August 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


-and the fracturing of the rock, but not having any mosiac, seems to go against King's message.

Um, PinkMoose, I think you are overthinking this plate of beans. I don't recall King ever saying anything pro-or-con about fractured rock, nor including/omitting mosaics in memorials.

I'm with muddgirl, who seems to also find the facial expression and body language a bit foreboding and dark... hardly reminiscent of "I Have a Dream"... "we'll all play together as brothers and sisters".

Maybe it's meant to be more like the young, muscular, angry Jesus in Michaelangelo's Last Judgment, kicking sinner-ass and taking names.

"Don't fuck with minority rights, or I'm gonna get all Civil Disobedience on your ass!"?
posted by IAmBroom at 12:27 PM on August 22, 2011


Dammit, this:
-and the fracturing of the rock, but not having any mosiac, seems to go against King's message.
is a quote from PinkMoose.

Fucking no-30-sec-edit-window.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:28 PM on August 22, 2011


Me too. The webcam view doesn't really seem to capture the essence of what Dr. King was all about. But I'll reserve judgment until this fall / winter when I get the chance to visit it in person. I have a strict no visiting DC between Memorial Day and Labor Day rule.
posted by COD at 12:29 PM on August 22, 2011


I agree, the pose does rather make it look like he's just instructed all cadres to strive diligently to increase steel production in keeping with the Five Year Plan.

I'm rather reminded of this which immediately reminds me of
this.
posted by griphus at 12:32 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


the pose does rather make it look like he's just instructed all cadres to strive diligently to increase steel production in keeping with the Five Year Plan.

Well, the sculptor has done statues of Mao.
posted by exogenous at 12:32 PM on August 22, 2011


Definitely looking forward to seeing this. I can't imagine the webcams do it justice because they never seem to.
posted by immlass at 12:34 PM on August 22, 2011


From this 2008 article: The letter from the commission went on to criticize the technique represented by the statue, saying, "The colossal scale and Social Realist style of the proposed statue recalls a genre of political sculpture that has recently been pulled down in other countries."

The commission "recommended strongly that the sculpture be reworked, both in form and modeling, to return to a more sympathetic idea of the figure growing out of the stone with increasing detail and emphasis of the upper part of the figure."


So what happened? Was it not reworked? Are there images of the original design?

"This guy knows nothing about King," said Dwight of Lei, who is collaborating with Black artists James Chaffers and Jon Lockard, both University of Michigan professors, on the sculpture. "I've seen his rendering. It's not a good likeness of King. King never stood like that. He's standing with his legs spread like he's guarding something. His brow is larger than it should be. King never wore a bulky suit like that. The suit looks like the kind of suit that the Chinese people wear."
posted by mattbucher at 12:39 PM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm rather fond of this statue of Dr. King, which stands in Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham, Alabama and directly faces the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Hallowed ground.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:39 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why is everything in pinks, fuchsias, and lavenders?

And the designers do realize that the cherry blossoms (I'm assuming that's what those trees are) are in bloom for 12-14 days?
posted by kuanes at 12:42 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where is it to be located? I assume not directly in front of the Lincoln Memorial where is should be, casting a long shadow over the "Great Emancipator" whose deeds hardly matched his words. Dr. King did the real job of emancipation and deserves all the credit.
posted by three blind mice at 12:43 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Release the Kraken!
posted by swift at 12:43 PM on August 22, 2011


The controversy surrounding the race and nationality of the sculptor made me pause to think that we may have constructed this monument prematurely...
posted by schmod at 12:44 PM on August 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Maybe I'm just being unimaginative today, but it seems both trite and problematic to pair the quote "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope" with MLK, Jr emerging from a fractured rock. Is MLK, Jr himself the stone of hope?
posted by muddgirl at 12:47 PM on August 22, 2011


And the designers do realize that the cherry blossoms (I'm assuming that's what those trees are) are in bloom for 12-14 days?

From the link:
Along the Tidal Basin, Yoshino cherry blossom trees have thrived since 1912 – a gift from Japan as a sign of peace and unity. For only two weeks each spring, their tiny blossoms surround the Basin in a cloud of delicate pink and white. Spring resonates with the spirit of hope, rebirth and renewal; the King Memorial has added 182 cherry blossoms to the Tidal Basin’s collection. Poetically, each year the peak blooming period for the trees coincides with the anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, April 4th.
posted by John Cohen at 12:47 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I was teaching I used to explain to my students that very powerful American leaders, when they die, ascend into heaven and become Gods. The proof of this is, of course, the massive temples we build to them in DEE CEE so that their priests can perform sacrifices.

Also, Abe Lincoln coming back and he's going to be pissed.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:53 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


In favour of a memorial, not so much this memorial. But that's a personal aesthetics thing, and there should be a memorial...
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:01 PM on August 22, 2011


I don't think it's so much the race and nationality of Lei so much as the fact that his primary experience is sculpting old-school Communist bloc type statues. When the primary comparison is to Niyazov or Mao or Lenin, that's not exactly great for a MLK memorial.
posted by kmz at 1:01 PM on August 22, 2011


The hologographic tourists in those illustrations are kind of creepy

Yeah, I overthought that entire scenario to a horrifying extent when I figured they were some kind of glass sculpture people - because glass people would be NO COLOR to represent the unity of all races, idk? - that were part of the memorial.
posted by elizardbits at 1:03 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


> The controversy surrounding the race and nationality of the sculptor made me pause to think that we may have constructed this monument prematurely...

Agreed. This memorial has been a train wreck. Oh, and don't even get me started on the King family's demand that the memorial foundation pay an annual licensing fee to use Dr. King's likeness.
posted by foggy out there now at 1:05 PM on August 22, 2011


When the primary comparison is to Niyazov or Mao or Lenin, that's not exactly great for a MLK memorial.

Certain right wing elements that are still obsessed with MLK's alleged tied to the communism may think the the government finally got something right with tis memorial.
posted by COD at 1:07 PM on August 22, 2011


> h, and don't even get me started on the King family's demand that the memorial foundation pay an annual licensing fee to use Dr. King's likeness.

Wow, probably upwards of $1 million at this point. I hope that money is very closely watched.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 1:08 PM on August 22, 2011


King faces Jefferson wearing clothes that fade into the granite above his feet. His arms are folded, with one hand holding his rolled-up Dream speech, according to sculptor Master Lei Yixin, who is a Chinese citizen.
Geez, we're even outsourcing our capital monuments to the Chinese!
I don't think it's so much the race and nationality of Lei so much as the fact that his primary experience is sculpting old-school Communist bloc type statues. When the primary comparison is to Niyazov or Mao or Lenin, that's not exactly great for a MLK memorial.
Hey now, he was a socialist.
So what happened? Was it not reworked? Are there images of the original design?
this pic shows two different "faces" for the statue. The second looks more like MLK and less 'angry' and more serene. Maybe that's the 'before and after'
posted by delmoi at 1:12 PM on August 22, 2011


Two questions:

Social Realism?

Pink granite?
posted by xod at 1:12 PM on August 22, 2011


Maybe that's the 'before and after'

They botoxed a fucking statue.
posted by griphus at 1:13 PM on August 22, 2011


the article I found that image on has some other details. Apparently the statue was actually fabricated in China, not just designed there.

The fact that the statue was carved out of white granite by Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin also sparked controversy, with US masons complaining that there were “plenty of unemployed” in their ranks who would have liked to work on the statue.

Huh.
posted by delmoi at 1:16 PM on August 22, 2011


Hey now, he was a socialist.

True. Not so much a murderous dictator though, unlike those I mentioned.
posted by kmz at 1:22 PM on August 22, 2011


3 blind mice: do not disparage Lincoln in favor of King: they both worked at what needed doing

" the civil rights movement culminating in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, can be seen as further realization of events such as the Emancipation Proclamation and abolition of slavery a century earlier."
posted by Postroad at 1:30 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The posture of the King statue might make the most sense if from the other side one could see a garter-and-stocking-clad J. Edgar Hoover, retreating sheepishly having been caught spying on Dr. King yet again.
posted by pianomover at 1:40 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I gotta tell you, MLK kept a far better game face than Han did going into the dunk tank.
posted by pwnguin at 1:40 PM on August 22, 2011


Gosh, I feel really bad about critiquing this memorial, because I think it's great that MLK Jr is getting a memorial. But on the other hand, one thing that always inspired me about King is that, for all his oratory flourishes, he spoke about concretes, but this memorial is all about the abstracts:
The quotes selected are those which are most representative Dr. King’s universal and timeless messages of Justice, Democracy, Hope and Love.
From a less-well-known section of his most famous speech:
In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."
Or from "I've Been to the Mountaintop"
I would turn to the Almighty, and say, "If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy." Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around. That's a strange statement. But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a way that men, in some strange way, are responding. Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up.
He's not talking about Democracy, he's talking about democatic accountability. He's not talking about Hope, he's talking about faith in God and faith in his fellow man.

One more, because one of the remarkable things about King is how he draws us in and we can't stop till he's finished (and really, please read the whole speech, because it's incredibly personal, in the same way that Paul's letters to the early Church are so beautifully personal, once we realize they're just letters and not some message to modern Christianity from beyond the grave):
That's the question before you tonight. Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to my job. Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as a pastor?" The question is not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?" The question is, "If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?" That's the question.
posted by muddgirl at 1:46 PM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let me get this straight: an American memorial located our nation's capital, designed and fabricated in China, and assembled by Chinese non-union workers? If that's not an appropriate statement on the state of our nation in 2011, I don't know what is. The payout to the family of the honoree in order to use his likeness? Icing on the fucking cake.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:52 PM on August 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


Let's play 'quotes that won't be on the MLK memorial'. I'll start:
"Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin...we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
posted by empath at 2:10 PM on August 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


It's definitely an interesting counterpoint to the Washington Monument.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:14 PM on August 22, 2011


As a landscape architecture student, I absolutely despise the transparent people in the renderings and the awful architect-speak in the description:

It is the sound of water “rolling down” that will draw a visitor’s attention. From this life-giving source, Dr. King’s message begins stretching away from the entrance, at once welcoming and yet daring the visitor to follow.

It's that sort of thing that has caused me to excise the word yet from any writing related to my projects.

Okay, thank you. I felt odd wanting to bring it up, but since you've broken the ice I guess I will follow. The giant statue, in this case, really, really gets to me. This was a man who marched in the streets with the rest of the people fighting for civil rights. The best tribute I could think of would be a statue of his exact measurements, so people could see that this was just a man who did this, and not a giant figure hewed from stone.

My feelings exactly. I'm more or less okay with the boulder (in theory) melodramatic as it is, but I think you should walk into the space and have to look around a bit to see Dr. King hanging out with the common folk, or maybe reading a book on a bench.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:15 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


> It's definitely an interesting counterpoint to the Washington Monument.

Needs a man in a canoe.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 2:15 PM on August 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let me get this straight: an American memorial located our nation's capital, designed and fabricated in China, and assembled by Chinese non-union workers? If that's not an appropriate statement on the state of our nation in 2011, I don't know what is. The payout to the family of the honoree in order to use his likeness? Icing on the fucking cake.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:52 PM on August 22 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


It's supposed to be a monument to one of our greatest historical figures and one of our greatest triumphs as a nation, and yet it still manages to encapsulate our failures as of 2011.

It's a good thing that this statue was built on the Mall because otherwise they probably would have had to bulldoze and pave over a black neighborhood to build it. With deficit spending. And backscatter x-ray machines for all the visitors.
posted by Avenger at 2:37 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


At least it's not as bad as the alternate-future-where-the-Daleks-win national WW 2 monument.
posted by The Whelk at 3:00 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, I've looked again and checked out the site plan and decided that it's a pretty static and boring space that seems to have been developed no further than the first three ideas they came up with at the first brainstorming meeting: "the Mountain of Despair", "the Stone of Hope", and "the Inscription Wall". Throw in some generic Water Features, Landscaped Kidneys and Enhanced Landscapes and you're good to go. There are no hidden views, no focal points, nothing to entice you along the paths unless you want to read inscriptions, no reason to really hang out in the center. (And apparently nowhere to sit?) ...that's just IMO, of course.

I tried to find other entries just for fun. here's a few:

3Six0

Jason Cooper (scroll down for small image)


Arias Architects

Brooklyn Architecture Collective (2nd runner up)

KPF, 1st runner up Sadly all I could find, as it's to small to see what's going on.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:01 PM on August 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, thanks for those links oneirodynia. I'm stunned that the Brooklyn Architecture Collective's entry didn't win.
posted by ooga_booga at 4:20 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rick Perry Compares Civil Rights Movement To GOP Fight For Lower Corporate Taxes
posted by homunculus at 4:46 PM on August 22, 2011


The Brooklyn Architecture Collective one is indeed a much better idea. The KPF one is cool, but it seems like they forgot to include the warp nacelles. Can anyone else see them? Using LCARS OSX here
posted by Greg Nog at 7:24 PM on August 22, 2011


This is a bad memorial, it doesn't invoke the feeling of MLK at all. It's so trite and wooly. Quotes on a big wall? Please, there's no emotion here at all. And the statue is horrid. How long will it be before someone puts a giant worker's cap on it, I wonder.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:19 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


John Cohen: Along the Tidal Basin, Yoshino cherry blossom trees have thrived since 1912 – a gift from Japan as a sign of peace and unity.

A total aside, but come to think of it I'm rather amazed these weren't promptly ripped out of the ground on December 8, 1941 (or rechristened something like VICTORY BLOSSOM trees...).
posted by hangashore at 5:30 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is a bad memorial, it doesn't invoke the feeling of MLK at all. It's so trite and wooly. Quotes on a big wall? Please, there's no emotion here at all. And the statue is horrid. How long will it be before someone puts a giant worker's cap on it, I wonder.

It doesn't look like the best tribute, to be sure. But I almost don't care. Franklin Roosevelt once said that he wanted to be remembered with a memorial that was about the size of his desk. Clearly that wasn't honored. And I'm thankful for that, because grand measures inspire a dialog with children and that's what these are really about. The quality of the work, in my eyes, is almost an afterthought. A reminder of the message can be inspired and tasteful and that's beautiful, but it can also miss the mark and you can discuss how it might not be an appropriate tribute and further add depth to the person in question.

My daughter's a toddler now, bit looking at these photos makes me anxious for the future, when I can take her on a daytrip to Washington while staying with her Philadelphia relatives. We can explore the monument, and we can discuss who Dr. King was and the importance of his actions and ideas. I can tell her about car trips with my own father, when Grandad would play a recording of the "I Have A Dream" speech and discuss with me the importance of judging by the content of one's character. Then we can have a thoughtful discussion of the role of non-violence and whether it's always the appropriate path. Then perhaps we'll touch on whether this is an appropriate monument for Dr. King, but the important thing is that it's there and fosters curiosity about a brave person with high ideals.

I'm going to be sure to take her to this before the Roosevelt memorial, because it's probably going to end up the primary focus to my daughter, seeing as how she's named after that Eleanor.

The best tribute I could think of would be a statue of his exact measurements, so people could see that this was just a man who did this, and not a giant figure hewed from stone.

That's an important point and one that I will make a point to discuss on our future visit. Thanks for illustrating that contrast so cleanly.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:41 AM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Very cool that the memorial is finally open, but yeah, I find the depiction of King disappointing for some of the reasons mentioned above. In addition (I don't think this has been mentioned in this thread), it doesn't even really look like MLK. Why did they square off and flatten the top of his head and make his forehead more prominent? Compare here and here.

This really bugs me. Why would the designers/sculptors do that? Why distort such an iconic image?
posted by torticat at 11:25 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


People want a lot from their memorials and I am feeling some disconnects in these comments. Seems to be a theme...
posted by wallstreet1929 at 9:18 PM on August 23, 2011


I work close enough to the Mall to visit the memorial and, although I was thwarted yesterday by the earthquake, today I made it and have a few thoughts about it.

First, although a lot of the comments so far have been about the statue, the statue doesn't feel that central to the memorial. It's facing away from the entrance and looks like another pillar until you've already come into the memorial and walked past a whole wall of quotes. In that way, it does make his writing feel more important than the statue, even though most of the visitors' attention ends up focused on the statue. In the end, we're all there for the sculpture.

The quotes were pretty much what you'd expect, i.e. heavy on nonviolence and love, nothing more controversial than his opposition to the Vietnam War. I was most surprised that there didn't seem to be any from I Have a Dream or I've Been to the Mountaintop. Certainly if there were, they weren't the most famous bits of those speeches.

I did like the statue, as it turned out. He does have a stern look on his face, but, then, he's looking directly at the Jefferson Memorial, and I interpreted that sternness as demanding Jefferson (and America) make good on his promise that all men really were created equal in the face of Jefferson's (and America's) overwhelming reluctance to do so. I wasn't really expecting it to play off of the other monuments like that, but considering that you actually notice the Jefferson Memorial before you can even see King's face, I think there's something there. I also think that plays off of the much lighter side of King that the bulk of the monument conveys. In other words, I think the memorial works much better in life than in pictures, but that's not exactly surprising.

Overall, B+, would visit again when slightly less crowded and 10 degrees cooler.
posted by Copronymus at 3:27 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


When Martin Luther King Was Hated and Unpopular
posted by homunculus at 12:11 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Copyright Nightmare of "I Have a Dream"
posted by homunculus at 12:51 PM on August 29, 2011


Maya Angelou upset over MLK memorial inscription
posted by mattbucher at 11:48 AM on August 31, 2011


The Copyright Nightmare of "I Have a Dream"

That article mentions copy-right challenged remixes -- here are two of my favorites:

Simon - Free At Last

Flashheadz - Promised Land

There was also a really clever remix that just sampled him saying "Black Men and White Men" over and over again, which basically just turned the speech into a big gay house anthem, but I don't remember what it was called.
posted by empath at 12:15 PM on August 31, 2011


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