Jackson Free Press, Jackson, MS
#I was not one precious little bit impressed with the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. I was stunned at just how unmoved I was. I walked around it again and again looking for Dr. King in this tepid gray ensemble of stones. I couldn’t believe this was what all the hype had been about. This was what it took years to raise $100 million to create. This was what all the controversy had been about: that a black artist was not chosen to coax the drum major of justice from stone into perpetuity, that the stone sculptors used was not American, that his obscenely greedy children demanded $800,000 for the use of King’s image and words on his own damn memorial.
Then Maya Angelou said King’s words were used in a way that made him sound arrogant, un-King-like. She waited, of course, until those words had already been etched into the monument to raise enough hell to get them tweaked. What Ms. Maya should have done was explain how this memorial turned out to be such a monumental disappointment, so painfully uninspiring and so utterly unworthy of this audacious leader for the ages.
#Just in case my assessment was off, I asked my sister, who had been with the group of us who visited the memorial after the 50th commemoration of the March on Washington last August, for her opinion of it. “I was,” she said, “completely underwhelmed. Next to all the other memorials on the National Mall, this thing looks like a bunch of big rocks on a sidewalk.”