Statue of an impatient Martin Luther King, Jr.

There's going to be a monument for Martin Luther King Jr. on the mall in Washington DC, alongside the monuments to Washington, Lincoln, FDR and Jefferson. If the mall is going to start sporting memorials to great Americans who were not presidents, I would have liked to see one to Hamilton. But King's not a bad choice.

The statue is going to be made in China by a sculptor named Lei Yixin (knowing the US government, I was tempted to think that it was just the lowest bid, but apparently he's a well-renowned sculptor). The pose that Lei chose is based on the photograph of King standing by a photograph of Mohandas Gandhi.

Because the statue depicts King standing, hands-crossed, in a pose that intimidates (imagine a 25-foot-plus statue of a man standing arms crossed), the National Memorial Project Foundation objected to it. If they wanted a statue to be that of a non-confrontational black man, they could have commissioned a carving of Uncle Tom.

That said, the statue is sentimental claptrap - "stone of hope" indeed. It would have been a lot more imposing (and true to the spirit of a man who woke up his country's conscience) if Lei had depicted him towering over the landscape rather than like Superman walking through a wall.

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