King Memorial Groundbreaking

If you’ve never had the chance to hear Bill Clinton speak live (he’s fantastic), then you’ll have an opportunity tomorrow. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the site of the new
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and is scheduled to start at 8:40AM and run through noon. The event is free, but you must request tickets by either registering online, or you can call 888-484-3373.

Oprah Winfrey and poet Maya Angelou will also be featured speakers.

The site is located on the Tidal Basin near the corner of Independance Avenue and West Basin Drive (map). The memorial was designed by ROMA Design Group, a San Francisco-based architeture, landscape architecture and city planning firm.

Actual construction will be delayed until fundraising for the 100 million dollar project has been completed and building permits are issued. Following the recent deaths of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, donations have steadly increased and the ceremony should further bolster contributions.

Additional details and background on the project are available at this Washington Post article.

3 Comments so far

  1. Rev. Carl Kenney (unregistered) on November 16th, 2006 @ 10:50 am

    Where Are The Dreamers?
    Rev. Carl Kenney

    Have we witnessed the death of dreamers?

    It’s a question that seems outrageous, but when considered within the context of the struggles we see and read about, one has to wonder, have we raised a generation void of dreamers?

    King and Malcolm X motivated a cohort to dream beyond their circumstances.

    King promoted academic excellence as a critical instrument in the advancement of a race.

    The demon of segregation had to be defeated to allow a space for African American youth to obtain the advantages found within the white educational structure.

    It was a time of separate and unequal.

    Despite the complaints of those who regard integration as the enemy of African American progress, King fought to create a station where everyone was working on the same playing field.

    While King scraped to defeat the achievement gap between African American youth and the white youth who had the advantage of better resources.

    Malcolm X’s message dared African Americans to consider the things they could do on their own.

    He wrestled to promote the advancement of African American businesses, preached the message of racial solidarity and pride.

    King demanded inclusion into the white world; Malcolm found power within the Black race.

    Both had a dream.

    For one, equal opportunity would translate into mobilization.

    For the other, racial solidarity would result in the building of a powerful people.

    What happened to their dreams?

    Let’s begin with racial solidarity.

    Malcolm preached it and King lived it.

    Solidarity was the hallmark of the movement.

    It is what led people to fight to overcome the hypocrisy of racism.

    People put their lives on the line for a cause bigger than their own security.

    Many died for that cause.

    Others went to jail, endured torture, walked in protest, and prayed for a better day.

    Somewhere between the protest and the progress, the trappings of individual advancement seduced African Americans.

    We got stuck into embracing the agenda of the community we fought against.

    Black solidarity was replaced by the phrase “I’ve got mine, get yours.”

    The community was lost.

    We shouldn’t be shocked; they followed the mandates of the institutions that once led the way.

    The Black church, once the educator of black solidarity, has been reduced to nothing more than business enterprises designed to promote the agendas of profiteers.

    Central to the message of King was the dare- whatever you do, be the best at what you do.

    This was not a call to elitism, but rather an attack on the spirit of complacency.

    The pursuit of excellence would trigger change.

    At the root of the admonition was the deep-seeded claim that God grants us the power to achieve our dreams.

    When we do the best we can with what we’ve got, God takes hold of it, blesses it, increases it, and uses it as evidence of God’s presence.

    This is the generation of the average.

    The pursuit for excellence has been replaced by the desire to get by with as little as possible.

    The yearning to be an A student should be assumed.

    Instead, being a C student is embraced. Our music is average.

    High-quality lyrics are hard to find, and authentic musicianship is no longer the craving of the masses.

    Malcolm and Martin both talked about racial pride.

    Do we really love ourselves, or has our hate for our black skin resulted in our killing the part of ourselves that we hate?

    Is it our hatred for that beautiful black skin that has led this generation of young people to kill one another for no reason?

    That must be the case.

    How else can we explain calling ourselves pimps and ho’s?

    Why do we spend so much time, energy and money in an attempt to change the way we look?

    Why can’t we embrace our beautiful black hair?

    Why do we hate being black so much?

    It must be true.

    How else can we explain black on black crime?

    It must be true.

    How do we account for the high drop out rate among African American youth?

    You can’t stop the person who loves themselves, who recognizes the potential and power they have.

    When you look at your skin, you should be reminded of who preceded you.

    You are the descendents of those who created mathematics, built the Roman coliseum, and Egyptian pyramids.

    We are the people that built this nation.

    How can you not be proud?

    We are the founders of American music-jazz, the blues, rock and roll, gospel, and rhythm and blues-how can you not be proud?

    When you believe in the strength within a community, when you strive to be the best you can be, when you have pride-dreams are nurtured.

    We are witnessing the death of dreams.

    The good news is it is never too late.

    It’s time to make a change.

    Racial solidarity, excellence, racial pride–without dreams, the people perish.

    Dream my people, dream!

  2. Stephanie Waller (unregistered) on November 25th, 2006 @ 1:01 am

    Wow! That was an outstanding and true comment!

  3. Corliss Gallaway (unregistered) on November 25th, 2006 @ 5:56 pm

    I love the quote and the writer that was chosen. The memorial and it was long awaited for. Thank you.

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