The Many Faces of Martin Luther King, Jr.

<b>The Many Faces of Martin Luther King, Jr.</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Everyone has a different vision of what Martin Luther King, Jr. meant to the world. King was a philosopher, a preacher, a man of peace and a risk taker. He was strong, thoughtful, intelligent and direct in his mission to spread hope, justice and democracy for all.

There have always been strong opinions regarding our national memorials -; from the location and aesthetics of the National World War II Memorial to the abstract design of the Vietnam Memorial.

A passionate discussion has surfaced surrounding the design of the Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial.

Recently, we received a letter from one member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) regarding the Stone of Hope, calling the image “confrontational” and creating a stir in the press. What did not get reported was that there are seven design elements required for CFA final approval, and we had received a “green light” on all but one.

While it is not unusual for the CFA and foundations similar to ours to have creative differences, we were surprised at the criticism, since we had submitted images of the Stone of Hope to the CFA since November.

We scheduled a face-to-face meeting with the chairman of the CFA this week. We agreed that some tweaking needs to be made, not a major overhaul. We will submit an updated image, and it is our hope to receive final CFA approval.

During our Design Competition in 2000, our team considered more than 1,000 images and pictures of Dr. King. It was ultimately decided that the image of him with his arms folded, as portrayed by photographer Bob Fitch, was ideal.

Mr. Isaac Newton Farris Jr., the nephew of Dr. King and president and chief executive officer of The King Center in Atlanta, agreed with our selection. “He said, “My uncle was very strong and confrontational with the weapon of love and nonviolence.”

Now, we should work on the task at hand -; building a four-acre memorial honoring Dr. King. The memorial will be the first on the National Mall to honor a man of peace and a person of color. The Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation has already raised $93 million from individuals, corporations and foundations, and we anticipate beginning construction shortly.

McKissack & McKissack, an African American woman-owned architectural and construction firm, will head the Design-Build team. The majority of the granite used will be domestic granite -; we will soon announce the sources of that granite.

We are confident that, at the end of the day, we will build a memorial which honors the legacy of Dr. King and one that inspires visitors from across the globe.

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