Friday, May 16, 2008

The King Memorial

Washington Post Metro columnist Marc Fisher in his column of May 11, 2008 draws our attention to a nearly-forgotten matter, the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial and its centerpiece, the Stone of Hope.

The 28-foot statue is to be displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It is being carved in mainland China with quarry from the tyrannical Communist nation under the aegis of the King Memorial Foundation, an arrangement pleasing to its president, Harry Johnson. But while King was alive, the Chinese government referred to him as "a revolutionary running dog" because he advocated nonviolent protest. Fisher cogently argues that the memorial should "be designed and executed by those who live in the country that King so inspired and changed."

Unfortunately, the columnist maintains also "so far, opposition to outsourcing the sculpture has come mainly from African Americans and the U.S. granite industry." Mainly, yes, but not completely. This is from a portion of a segment, which included a resport by CNN correspondent Lou Tucker, on the May 3, 2008 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight:

The last monument to be built on the Mall was the World War II memorial. That memorial, which opened to the public in 2094, built using 100,000 cubic feet of granite. The primary contract supplier for the memorial: New England Stone. It placed a bid, by the way, we're told, to build the Martin Luther King memorial, but never received a response from the Martin Luther King memorial people.

The company says, quote -- "Given that there are over 50 active granite quarries domestically offering a full palette of colors, it boggles one's mind to think the selection committee couldn't find an American stone to represent one of the greatest Americans of the 20th century."

We found there is, in fact, plenty of granite produced in this country. In 2005, the United States produced 416 metric tons of the stone, valued at more than $100 million. And by the way, this building we're broadcasting from tonight, the Time Warner Center, home to our studios here, built with granite from New England Stone. Not exactly a small project either.

Americans -- well, they've got plenty to say about plans to honor one of America's greatest civil rights icons with a memorial made in communist China. The groundbreaking for the monument is set for December 2008. We'll continue to bring you all of the latest developments.

Credit goes to Fisher, Dobbs, and the other individuals who remind us that the sculpture depicting the U.S.A.'s greatest civil rights leader ought to be made in America, by Americans.

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