Martin Luther Memorial: Ode to China

Crystal Wright

8/18/2011 12:01:00 AM - Crystal Wright

Pretty soon Americans may be pledging allegiance to the United States of China. China owns most of our mounting $15 trillion debt and it turns out had more than a hand or two in creating and building the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial.

Yes, my dear patriots, somewhere in the memorial is probably etched “Made in China” like everything else Americans consume from clothes and electronics (Apple products) to furniture and cook ware. Not only is the granite used in the King monument from China but also the sculptor, Lei Yixin, and the workers who built the monument. (One of the excuses for picking Lei was because he was one of a handful of sculptors in the world who could carve granite and the National Park Service wouldn’t allow King’s monument to be crafted out of marble. Stupid on so many levels.) How ironic that King fought for the freedom of blacks and his monument was designed, made and built by a communist country where freedom is oppressed.

After losing his life in fighting for blacks to enjoy the same civil rights as whites enjoyed for centuries before them and finally getting his rightful place between the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials, Martin Luther King’s 30 ft memorial is forever marred by the Chinese. There is virtually nothing American about it except for the location where it sits.

Martin Luther looks more Chinese than American, particularly as one reporter observed the” folds and tails of King’s jacket,” look very Maoist. In 2008, the US Commission of Fine Arts, tasked with reviewing plans for monuments and memorials, criticized the design as “a genre of political sculpture that has recently been pulled down in other countries,” asking changes be made, which apparently were not.

Aside from being an affront to King’s legacy, the final death nail in this communist mess is “cheap labor” was imported from China and workers housed in Crystal City, VA for months to build $120 million memorial. Looks like China got paid! The workers didn’t know how much they would be compensated but told a translator, who was hired by a US bricklayer on a spying mission to expose the workers, that they would get paid when they returned to China. Yeah right, if the Chinese have anything to do with it, those workers will get paid with a thank you and that’s it.

The entire fiasco raises so many questions. Why weren’t American bricklayers hired? Why wasn’t an American designer hired and why didn’t the 159 blocks of granite come from America? If government allowed the King memorial to come to this, it’s not surprising our debt is so out of control.

In response to the cries of outrage from a local bricklayers’ union, Harry E. Johnson, Sr. President & CEO of the Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation wrote in a letter “we should not exclude anyone from working on this project simply because of their religious beliefs, social background or country of origin.” What about country first? Where was Mr. Johnson’s loyalty to King’s legacy or US workers, particularly at a time when persistent unemployment in this country is approaching the highest level since the Great Depression.

One side of the King Memorial is engraved with a line from his 1963 I Have a Dream speech: "Out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope." But for a man who had “a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice” and achieved that dream, Martin Luther King deserved an American made memorial that bleeds red, white and blue through and trough. Yet despite this slight King will ever rise from the granite, as a symbol of American greatness, inspiration and freedom that rings in darkness and in light.