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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Support An Eternal Dream - The MLK National Memorial

April marks the 42nd anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Who of us alive at the time of his assassination could forget the evening of April 4, 1968, when we heard of the tragic death of Dr. King? While standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was to lead a protest march in sympathy with striking garbage workers of that city, he was slain.

Vern E. Smith and Jon Meacham (Newsweek, Washington Post Company, 1998) describe the assassination:

"The Passion was complete. As he lay dying, the popular beatification was already underway: Martin Luther King Jr., general and martyr to the greatest moral crusade on the nation's racial battlefield. For most Americans the story seems so straightforward. He was a prophet, our own Gandhi, who led the nation out of the darkness of Jim Crow. His Promised Land was the one he conjured on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, a place where his 'four little children... will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.'" 

Marin Luther King Jr., was only 39 at the time of his death—a valiant leader who never wavered in his insistence that nonviolence must remain the essential tactic of the movement nor in his faith that all Americans would some day attain racial and economic justice. The day before his assassination, he had delivered his famous "I have seen the mountain top" speech in Memphis. Many people have since claimed the words seemed to eerily predict his death, as King warned: "I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you."

A fitting tribute, the Washington, DC, Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial, will honor Dr. King's life and contributions to the world through non violent social change. More than a just monument to a great humanitarian, the monument is intended to be personally transformative for visitors, building a sense of commitment to the promise of positive change and active citizenship.

Now, after years of fund raising, the National Memorial Project Foundation at is $14 million away from its $120 million goal. The foundation is reaching out to ask if I would help spread the word by posting about this wonderful project. The Dedication of the Memorial is tentatively scheduled for 2011.

I am honored that the foundation requested that I post an entry to support raising the money to insure this monument becomes a reality. Thank you, Mr. Lowell Dempsey, for supplying me with this vital information about the memorial. I believe Professor Melvin Sylvester ("A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," Long Island University, 1998) aptly states Dr. King's contributions in the following passage:

"We honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because he showed us the way to mend those broken fences and to move on in building this land rather than destroying it. He led campaign after campaign in the streets of America and on to the governor's mansion - even to the White House - in an effort to secure change. Today Black Americans have federal legislation which provides access and legal protection in the areas of public accommodations, housing, voting rights, schools, and transportation. These rights were not easily won, nor readily accepted, but the good will and conscience of an enormous spectrum of our society both Black and White said 'Move On.'" 

Many different methods of contributing to the cause are described in the web sites listed below. Most of the money, as you can see, has been raised. Many organizations have made large contributions. For example, the NBA contributed three million dollars, and the NFL Players' Association pledged one million dollars during Congressional Black Caucus Week. Other sponsors such as General Motors ($10,000,000), Tommy Hilfiger ($5,000,000), , and Apha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. ($3,485,208) have supported the memorial foundation with even greater contributions.

Three things you can do today are (1) Contribute, (2) Take an online virtual tour of the monument, and (3) Share information about the monument with friends, family, and neighbors. In fact, you can help “Build the Dream” by supporting the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation and make a $5.00 donation today through text messaging. Text messaging is easy and very convenient.
The Shape of the Vision

The Memorial is conceived as an engaging landscape experience to convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King’s life – democracy, justice, hope, and love. Natural elements such as the crescent-shaped-stone wall inscribed with excerpts of his sermons, and public addresses will serve as the living testaments of his vision of America. The centerpiece of the Memorial, the “Stone of Hope," will feature a 30-foot likeness of Dr. King. 

The MLK Virtual Tour:


The following websites are given to facilitate your contributions and to provide information about the project:  

"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love." Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.
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