Martin Luther King "I have a dream"
It was on this day in 1963, 200,000 people participated in a peaceful civil rights rally in Washington, D.C., where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
How's this for Ironic?
Criticism Over Chinese Artist Being Chosen to Create Martin Luther King Jr. Sculpture
The choice of a Chinese sculptor to create a monument to Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., has drawn a growing number of critics who say a black artist should have been selected -- or at least an American. Some human rights advocates are also rejecting the choice, saying King would have decried the communist Chinese government's record on religious and civil liberty. Gilbert Young, a black painter from Atlanta, has started a website and petition drive to try to change the selection. He told AP, "I believe that black artists have the right to interpret ourselves first."
The memorial foundation seems surprised at the criticism, given the circumstances of sculptor Lei Yixin's selection and involvement. Ten of the 12 people on the committee that chose Lei are black, he's working closely on the design with two black American sculptors, and the overall project is being directed by a black-owned architecture firm. The foundation also points to King's words, which will be incorporated into the monument, that in order to achieve peace, people must, quote, "transcend race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective." Foundation president and CEO Harry Johnson also asked why Lei should be held accountable for his government.
Lei is designated a master sculptor by the Chinese government, and has carved monuments to many of the country's national figures, including Mao Zedong, the father of communist China.