Awareness | Posted by Julie Z on 05/19/2010

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

The MLK Jr. Memorial...bam

The MLK Jr. Memorial...bam

One of the ultimate highlights of my middle experience was the concept of the “Window Trip.” Our middle school, dedicated to giving us ignorant brats a broader view of the world, forced us onto a bus every year and shipped us off to a set destination in order to give us a “window” into history/the lives of others. In 6th grade, we were bussed to colonial Williamsburg, which I must say was a pretty awesome experience. We each had to interview somebody there, and I recall stalking the Thomas Jefferson impersonator to give him the third degree about his status as a slave owner. In 8th grade we went on an ubran outward bound trip to New York City where we visited an African cultural center and a sikh temple. And in 7th grade, we visited Washington D.C.

In D.C. I remember visiting the Lincoln Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial, in addition to a bunch of other activities that are a little fuzzy now but I’m sure were culturally enhancing at the time. Especially after successfully surviving AP US History this year, I look back on those memorials with a new sense of appreciation. Remembering history, and the important players in history, is vital – not only so we don’t repeat our mistakes again but to remember where we come from and how far we still have to go. For this reason, I think it’s great that we have the memorials like the ones I visited.

However, the fact that most of the memorials I visited commemorated war or white guys was a little bit…shall we say…off-putting. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t remember the bravery of people who fought in war (although I still think we shouldn’t have had wars or should ever have wars…call me naive or whatever but seriously war is stupid) and I’m not saying that what those white guys did wasn’t important (although most of them were still sexist and racist), but seriously I think it’s about time that we put those things into perspective. As a feminist, I think it’s about time that we spread the love for ALL of the people who have made a difference in history, especially those that have fought for equality.

That’s why I was so psyched to hear that they’re currently in the process of developing a memorial in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. I mean, that guy was SO cool, and his memorial will be the first devoted to a person of color and somebody whose goal was one of peace rather than blowing up the “enemy” – the existence of a memorial in his honor sends a great message to the world about what equality is.

However, the memorial is about $14 million away from its goal budget of $120 million. It’d really be a shame if this project was unable to come to fruition. To learn more about the monument, and what you can do to help out, visit this website.

And now, it’s time for an inspirational video:

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  • Katherine C. @ at 12:19 pm, May 19th, 2010

    The best part of seeing the memorials in Washington D.C. was seeing the Eleanor Roosevelt memorial. Now there’s a lady! She was raised to be anti-semetic and racist and rose above that to become one of the greatest human rights activists the world has ever known.

  • Brenna @ at 4:51 pm, May 19th, 2010

    Hey I took AP US History this year too! And I just went to Washington D.C. a couple weeks ago for an academic competition, and seeing the memorials was my favorite part. I never really thought about the fact that they were all dedicated to war or white guys, though. Although I think it’s cool that the Vietnam Memorial Wall was created by a woman. I’m going back to D.C. next year, and it would be awesome if they had the MLK memorial built by then.

  • Chriss @ at 8:52 pm, May 29th, 2010

    idk if this is common knowledge, but Martin Luther King had many affairs behind his wife’s back. Not really a great feminist leader. There is a lot of dirt on that guy that no one likes to talk about..

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