In a blog entry at Your Black World, Dr. Boyce Watkins challenges the decision not to include the words “racism” and “black” in the list of quotes at the newly dedicated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. He says that fighting for racial equality was part of King’s life struggle and should be an integral part of the memorial.
Not meaning to be picky or to challenge those who worked with corporations to fund the Memorial built in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, but I had to mention this. Someone sent me a message today stating that he’d been told during a meeting with the heads of the committee to build the memorial that race and racial inequality had been deliberately excluded from all of the quotes on the MLK Memorial. According to the witness who sent me the message, the individual who made the decision to leave out Dr. King’s quotes on race and racial inequality felt that for his children, race isn’t a factor and that he wanted the memorial to go beyond race …
I took a look at the list of quotes on the Martin Luther King Memorial and noticed that the words “black” or “racism” do not exist anywhere in the list of statements by Dr. King. In addition to the exclusion of words relating to race (other than a quote about transcending race, which is sure to please any post-racial enthusiast), there is little to no reference to Dr. King’s lifelong struggle for racial equality in America. One small exception is a quote calling for us to commit ourselves to the “noble struggle for equal rights,” which can apply to equality for everyone, which doesn’t specifically reference race. This reminds me of the age old argument that the Black civil rights struggle is no different than the struggles of the gay community, animal rights groups and everyone else (remember when PETA ran ads comparing dogs to slaves?).
Read Dr. Boyce Watkins’ entire blog entry at Your Black World.