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Modern Cultural Artifact

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Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C
Donna M. Gerron
American InterContinental University

It was a very hard decision deciding on which artifact to write about. It was a choice between the King Center in Atlanta Georgia and the King Memorial in Washington. The King Center has a wealth of information about Dr. King and his fight for nonviolent solutions for African Americans to be considered equal among all men. This paper is about the newest addition to the King legacy, King Memorial Monument in Washington D.C.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C
For this week’s IP we were to write about a modern day cultural artifact that best represents the culture we live in today. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a brilliant man who stood up to fight for equality for African Americans in this country. Cultural Background
Most people are already aware of who Dr. King was and what he stood for. His legacy will forever affect our society. Because without him we would not have an African American president, Blacks will probably still be treated as though they are second class citizens. Dr. King arranged marches, boycotts, and sit-ins. Even though he and his followers were often met with violence he continued to not lift a finger in anger towards anyone. Unfortunately some people still do think they was they did in the 60’s because they were taught that way of thinking by their parents or grandparents. Dr. King paved the way for Blacks to have the rights and freedoms of other men and he lost his life fighting for what he believed in.

Making of a Memorial
Dr. King was first recognized by the making of his birthday a legal holiday to be celebrated throughout the country. This was started by Rep. John Conyers and was proposed in every legislative session from 1968 until 1983 when it was made a bill. The first legal holiday representing his birthday did not occur until January 20, 1986. In January 1984 four brothers Alfred Bailey, Oscar Little, Eddie Madison and John Harvey of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity proposed building a national memorial to Dr. King and it was presented at the Fraternity’s Board of Director’s meeting under the administration of General President Ozell Sutton. In 1996 President Clinton signs legislation proposing the establishment of a memorial in the District of Columbia to honor Dr. King. Planning for the monument slowly progressed over the years until it became a reality.

King Memorial Monument
Dr. King is well known as an eloquent speaker and for his speeches such as his “Have a Dream” speech. His speeches and sermons touched the lives, heart and spirit of those who were fortunate to hear him. The monument in sits on a 4 acre site in the National Mall near the Roosevelt memorial, the address of the memorial is 1964 Independence Ave, SW Washington, DC 20024. The street number is in reference to the Civil Right’s Act of 1964 which is pretty cool because Dr. King place a large role in the act being put into place.
Inscribed on the memorial there are quotes from some of Dr. King’s speeches, one inscription says: "There are two types of laws: there are just laws and there are unjust laws...What is the difference between the two?...An unjust law is a man-made code that is out of harmony with the moral law...Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Isn't segregation an existential expression of man's tragic separation, an expression of his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness?" – Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963 In conclusion
This is a site that will be around for generations to come. This monument represents a great man and the great things he did for this country. As the new generations come along and learn about our past, this statue will be there for them to visit, to see, feel and learn from. This writer hopes to visit it one day as she did the King Center in Atlanta and Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.
It is said that the memorial invokes the memory and spiritual presence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr through the visual experience of place, reinforced by the full range of sensory perception, and metaphorical use of water, stone and other landscape elements. The powerful display of passages from his sermons and speeches and the appearance of his physical image in the “Stone of Hope”


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