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While WW is busy fighting crime, I thought you would like to revisit this topic the”Your Black World” July 2011 article since it is soon in coming. I think it is an outrage that the MLK Memorial looks Asian, appears angry, and is minus African American workers or artists!!
MLK Memorial Still Brews in Controversy for Building with Chinese Workers
July 5, 2011 By Staff of Your Black World
Your Black World reports.
We have just two months before the August 28 celebration of a new memorial in Washington DC dedicated to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The site will be four acres, and cost $120 million to construct. The memorial continues on in spite of controversy about the builders choosing a sculptor from China.
The King family is in support of the use of a Chinese sculptor, leaving many American and African American artists disappointed that their talents were not used by the family. There are also some who believe that the 30-foot likeness of Dr. King appears too confrontational, contrasting with King’s non-violent approach to Civil Rights.
Ed Jackson, executive architect of the Martin Luther King National Memorial, said that the King family approved the likeness created by Lei Yixin.
“I’ve seen probably 50 sculptures of my dad, and I would say 47 of them are not good reflections — that’s not to disparage an artist,” said Martin Luther King III. “This particular artist — he’s done a good job.”
The critics of this decision include a sculptor who was on an earlier team. Also, academics, union members and others were angered by the decision to bring a group of Chinese workers to Washington to put the statue together. Those who support the monument are working to deal with the criticism as they seek ways to raise the last $6 million needed to finish the project.
“He had already created … three additional sculptures of Dr. King’s head,” Jackson said, referring to past work that had been done by Lei.
Jackson then brought pictures of four different heads to two of King’s children, who chose Lei’s as the best of the group.
“The response was the first one,” King III said. “I informed them that this was the one that had generated all that controversy about their father looking confrontational. Martin said, ‘Well if my father was not confrontational, given what he was facing at the time, what else could he be?’”
Ed Dwight, a sculptor who’d been on the project earlier, said that he thought that Lei Yixin would help him, but not that he would be doing the job by himself. Dwight claims that King would be insulted to hear that a sculptor from a Communist country would be working on his likeness.
“Dr. King would be turning over in his grave if he knew,” Dwight said. “He would rise up from his grave and walk into their offices and go, ‘How dare you?’”
There are also some who would argue that Dr. King, a man who fought for the rights of American workers, might be concerned about the exclusion of black and white American workers on the project. Bringing Chinese workers across the world to work on a King memorial is an interesting reminder of corporate globalization that is taking place in America today. Throughout the economic recovery, American workers have been the least to benefit, while the wealthy and corporations have done quite well. Part of the reason for this division is due to the fact that wages are kept low by using workers overseas.