A CHINESE MARTIN LUTHER KING?!

By Gilbert Young

One of the greatest men in history said if a man is not willing to die for something he is not fit to live. I believe that to be true. In today’s society, standing up for a belief—especially if it seems politically incorrect—can be the same as dying. As a professional who just turned sixty-five, I know that to be true. Still, I’m willing to yell at the top of my lungs my disgust at the decision made by the King Memorial Foundation to choose a Chinese artist to sculpt the image of Martin Luther King Jr., for the first ever national memorial to an African American man.

Where are those who are supposed to protect the ideals and champion the cause? Among those pretending to be in charge are obviously too many who can not see the travesty of justice in having the “national treasure of China,” Lei Yixin—that’s Communist China—sculpt the center piece of the most important African American monument, in recognition of the most important African American movement in the history of the United States. A movement that never could have taken place in China. I am appalled.

Is it that Alpha Phi Alpha, one of the country’s oldest African American fraternities, and the executive staff of the King Memorial project—also all black, and the Memorial Foundation Leadership, could not find one African American sculptor good enough to create a likeness of King? That’s crazy. You best believe, there is not ONE national memorial, not ONE monument to a leader or historical event in China, Russia, France, Italy, India, Germany—go ahead and name them all—that has the name of an African American artist engraved in its base. It’s probably not that they don’t like us or appreciate our abilities. It’s that a commission of such importance is a legacy for a country and its countrymen. Why should the King Monument be any different?

Here was the opportunity for a national monument to a Black man in Washington D.C., to be created, developed, designed, and executed by the best that African America arts and culture and development has to offer, a testament to all our own achievements as Black people who benefited from Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. There won’t be a second chance to make our first impression. Yet once again our worth is kicked to the curb.
So far, creating and developing the site of the King Memorial has gone to the ROMA Group, out of San Francisco, a group headed by Boris Dramov. The historic centerpiece of the King Memorial is supposed to be created by the Chinese guy. So let’s see—that leaves the digging and hauling, which in some folks’ eyes may be appropriate because this nation was built on the backs of Blacks. I, for one, am not willing to bob my head and grin over the fact that some Black subcontractor will be employed to move the dirt. Nor am I willing to allow my children’s children to visit a memorial that will not reflect African American art and culture and artistry. What was the Civil Rights Movement all about?

Lei Yixin is politics, and politics was not King’s way. We all know, as U.S. citizens, how much money our government owes the Chinese (and everybody else). But here’s the thing; the artistic accomplishments of African Americans has long been celebrated. We too have national treasures, and low and behold some of them are sculptors. More importantly, politics should not be allowed to sell the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the historic impact of the Civil Rights movement to the Chinese.

“The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by Lei Yixin”

Whose artistry and history will that plaque honor 300 years from now? The answer is NOT OURS.

For those whose only belief is that King belonged to the world—that his work, his words, and his stance was international in scope—you need only take a few moments to review history. Watch the films and look at the photographs that show what was going on in African America that prompted King to become the icon he became. The images of “White Only” signs on drinking fountains and movie houses; scores of people marching and protesting bigotry, prejudice, Jim Crow, and segregation. Look again at the black men hanging from trees lit by Klan fires. See the young black men and women and children being hosed in their faces, bitten by dogs and dragged through the streets by police. Watch the men carrying out the bodies of those four little girls.

King’s message became universal because only the truly ignorant would not accept and acknowledge that all men are created equal and deserve to be respected and allowed the right to freedoms promised in this country’s Constitution. We are still fighting for those rights. King’s message may have been for everyone, but everyone wasn’t for King. He was killed for speaking up for black people.

And at this time, we are fighting for the right to interpret and present our own historic proclamation in this first ever national monument to a black man, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We as African Americans have a right to depict the life and legacy of one of our most beloved leaders as WE saw him.

As an artist, I stand against the decisions to use the Roma Group and Lei Yixin. When my protest began last month I believed I stood alone. Now I know I do not.

http://www.kingisours.com/

I am proud to announce that Mr. Young will be on my show “The American Muslim” Thursday night May 31st at 9pm ET and will be educating us on this situation among other things and taking your calls and questions.

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11 Comments

  1. Robert I sort of agree that somewhere in this country there must be a man of your race talented enough to commision to do this work. I look forward to hearing what mr. Young has to say.

    Rev. Bruce………Tawwodi…out

    Reply

  2. I don’t have a problem with the internationalization of the message of Dr. King and neither should you.

    I have a great big problem with the marginalization of the message of Black people as if it only pertains or even originates with Black persons..

    I happen to believe that every person on the planet could benefit from the message that Dr. King left us and that this unique message has already reverberated around the planet.

    Why focus on the issue of a single artist and a single sculpture and NOT be concerned as to the general contractor?

    Reply

  3. Mr Thomas,

    I believe you missed the point. The highlight is not the sculptor or even the sculpture itself, it’s about the principle of legacy, history, and the outsourcing thereof. If one was to visit Mr. Young’s website or listen to my show the night of his appearance it would easily be discerned that the issue is with the contractor and the foundation, the artist just brings light to the situation that happened in the “dark”.

    Thanks for your response,

    Peace

    Reply

  4. am still telling everone in this country am a truck driver spent over 80$ to make copys to give to people most take very few don’t take it. i sure hope you have a lote of people coming to this websit just to say it again a black man from north america should make it. from steven cooper in covington,ga 29yrs old over the road

    Reply

  5. Does Dr. Ed. Jackson understand the significance of his selection of Lei Yixin as the sculptor of Dr. King? Lei is an official sculptor for the Marxist atheist state of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). He was trained first and foremost to glorify the state’s enslavement of the Chinese, Tibetan and Uyghur people. Lei is considered a treasure of the PRC simply because of his sculptures of Mao who caused the death of 70 millions and created the biggest man made famine in the history of mankind.
    Do we really want the statue of Dr. King to share the same sculptor who is famous for sculpting statues of a mass murderer?
    The full quote of Dr. King is “This means that more and more our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. We must now give an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in our individual societies. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is, in reality, a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love. When I speak of love, I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response which is little more than emotional bosh. I am speaking of that force which all the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door, which leads to ultimate reality.”
    Dr. King talked about “all-embracing and unconditional love.” The history of the PRC is about class hatred.
    Dr. King talked about “mankind” “love” and “religion”. Mao called religion, “The opium of the people.”
    Dr. King talked about “the key that unlocks the door”. The current PRC regime talks about total control of their people.
    The government of the PRC continues to persecute underground Christians. Christian churches continue to be torn down and underground Christians continue to be put in jail and some sentenced to death. Recently, over 100 missionaries who went to China as teachers or businessmen were expelled.
    The selection of an official sculptor from the PRC will merely provide the government with more propaganda tools in their attempt to hide their human rights violations.
    As an American of Chinese ancestry, I would have been very proud if an ethnic Chinese has been selected. However, before the PRC government joins the fellowship of this world with unconditional love for their people including journalists, internet writers, human rights lawyers, dissidents, Christians, Tibetans, Falun Gong, Uyghur Muslims we should refrain from allowing the image of Dr. King to be used as propaganda for this regime.
    Ann Lau

    Reply

  6. I want to thank you Brother Salaam for your support and for opening this portal of dialog.

    It is very, very important that people understand that this protest is not about race. It’s about right. I spoke to a reporter from the Washington Post a few days ago. She is based in China and writing a story about the protest. Her first question was “Isn’t it true that Dr. King is a universal figure and belongs to everyone?” I told her if that was true, if everyone embraced what Dr. King was saying, he’d be sitting in the den of his home right now with a cup of tea!

    It seems that everyone has forgotten what was going on in this country in the 50’s and 60’s that made King join the long line of activists who stepped up to the plate to try to change the atmosphere that descendants of slaves were living under. I told the reporter that we, as African Americans, don’t have ONE place we can point to in this world that inherently belongs to us as a people, and yet through some miracle four acres of land has been set aside in the heart of D.C. for one of us. The plan is for that four acres of land to be developed and designed by a white architect firm, and for the centerpiece of the monument to be sculpted by an artist from China. Not only that, the centerpiece will be carved from Chinese granite and shipped here in crates marked “Made in China.”

    There is not ONE monument to a leader or historic figure in ANY country on this planet that has the name of an African American artist at its base. Here is our first (and last?) opportunity to show the world our culture, our artistry, our heritage, and our love for this man who gave his life for our people–and that chance has been snatched away–by the oldest black fraternity in this country–and given to an artist who is supported financially by a government that would not allow Dr. King to walk down the street let alone give a speech. Talk abut black on black crime!

    The Chinese artist, Lei Yixin is a government sponsored and supported employee who receives a paycheck from the Peoples Republic of China to create artwork. His claim to fame are the many sculpture’s he’s done of the murderer Mao Se Dung. The Los Angeles Times reported that Yixin said the King Foundation members found him sleeping on the grass and asked him to take on this important commission. Yixin said he was not aware of how big and important the job was until he saw the architects plans! He claimed to have heard about King as a student in school, yet a Chinese American King Is Ours supporter has written us to say that any teacher caught even mentioning Dr. King in the 60’s would have been imprisoned. Mentioning his name in the People’s Republic of China today, according to a Chinese professor, is “discouraged by the government” as reported in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

    I am 66 years old. I was there in the 60’s. I did not march with Dr. King, but I damn sure intend to march for him.

    Your support and your willingness to talk to those who do not “get it” is greatly appreciated. Not many people are aware of the decisions that have been made by the King Foundation. Voices like yours will insure that we are heard.

    Gilbert Young
    youngartone@aol.com
    http://www.kingisours.com

    Reply

  7. A Wal-Mart Made in Communist China Dr. King is an example of African-American culture that has been hijacked by a group of globalists and Uncle Tom Oreos!

    Communist China is responsible for invading and annexing what is regarded as the most peaceful nation on earth–Tibet–raping their culture, raping their women, and murdering millions of defenseless Buddhists.

    Communist China continually threatens to invade Taiwan, a free autonomous nation that was NEVER a part of Communist China, with nuclear destruction if they don’t surrender to the communist thugs. Taiwan was (and is)a highly developed equal with Japan while Communist China when all China produced were famines, epidemics, and brutal despots.

    Communist China’s growing navy is constantly harrassing the region’s civilian shipping and research vessels, stealing oil, transporting narcotics, and spying. If you follow the Asian free presses, you will immediately see daily reports of Communist China claiming Japanese and Philippine islands as a part of the “motherland.”

    The monument to the great champion of freedom and equality has to be the greatest prank the Chinese Communist Party has ever played. Hu jintao must be laughing so hard that he soils his Made in China Hanes underwear ( “I’m wearing Michael Jordon’s underwear”). What could be funnier to the Communists than to plant a large red lawn jockey in the middle of Washinton D.C.–a giant lawn jockey created in the Maoist/Stalinist droll, oppressive style?!?

    I well remember the Red Guard and the so-called “cultural revolution, when any would-be Dr. King and freedom marchers were literally machine gunned in the streets and the country sides.

    I remember the many African students taken to Communist China’s universities to indoctrinate in communist brutality to take home. But they faced raw racial hatred on the level of the old deep south: they were severely beaten and killed! And, suddenly the Communist Chinese government loves Dr. King and his teachings?

    My wife is a highly educated Taiwanese–a researcher and teacher. I not only have that as a reason to oppose Communist China, but I have a lifelong passion for human rights and equality. I am white…the son of a wonderful man who risked his and his family’s lives by renting a duplex with a black family and a Chinese family right in the middle of a Ku Klux Klan Neighborhood. Our house was shot at, and my father and the black man was saved from being beaten to death by two pickup loads of the stereotypical hillbilly peckerwoods, armed with family heirloom hickory pick handles and crowbars!

    Aside from a major setback with this criminal administration, there has been change in America. Now, we have a highly educated, articulate black gentleman seeking the presidential nomination from a major party. Such change, in Communist China, does not happen. The communists are Han Chinese who will never allow other groups to participate in government. And they will never allow freedom!

    Too, Americans have not awakened to the clear fact that we are subsidizing their military modernization, while giving them our entire infrastructure. I often wonder if our leaders have allowed Communist China to make America one of their provinces.

    As one of Communist China’s “nine art treasures,” I have no doubt that Lei Yixin is a member/puppet of the Communist Party.

    He must be stopped, immediately. Dr. King’s memory deserves far better than being a lawn Jockey for the communists, created in a strict Maoist style!

    Reply

  8. “One of the greatest men in history said if a man is not willing to die for something he is not fit to live.”

    So NAMBLA members are not fit to live unless they’re willing to die for their cause?

    Interesting.

    Reply

  9. Thanks to The Artivist/Ronald Herd II, I first heard Bro. Young present his very convincing case on weallbe.blogspot.com Internet radio against the current plan of record to give this most unique honor of sculpting the memorialized image of one of our and world’s greatest men, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to someone other than an African American or even a capable Black artist from anywhere else in the world. It defies all cultural norms and traditions of this magnitude. It even defies our own self-respect and self-love first, like all other people practice, without any hesitation or regrets.

    The very idea of the MLK Memorial Foundation Leadership, the King Memorial Project and Alpha Phi Alpha, first working with the “white-owned” Roma Design Group and now, supposedly, with a “Black-owned” architectural firm, some how invoking the words of Dr. King to justify such an act is seen by many, certainly me, as a twisted betrayal and a denial of this historic opportunity to interpret -for the world- a rendering by our hands of one of our own sons.

    Why must we, as Black people, surrender such an inherent and truly earned right and unique honor to make this rendering? It is a sacred work that belongs to us, as Black people! It is not something to be traded or surrendered away to demonstrate our “magnanimous” love and, thereby, be more “acceptable” to others in the eyes of the world, others who have shown contempt and condescending disdain towards Black people and have no cultural or historic connection to this world hero. There are many that have surely heard his wisdom, but have yet to truly act upon it.

    This dilemma within the Black community points to our crippling lack of empowered Black institutions and leadership that can organize human and financial resources -primarily from within the Black community itself- and take major responsibility and leadership roles for carrying out a major symbolic project such as this. We remain dependent and swayed more by those outside the Black community.

    This is not to say that others could not join in such an effort. That, I think, would be the appropriate thing to do and in keeping with the teachings of Dr. King, who also never said that we must “take a back seat” and let others continue to take control and do what we must do for ourselves.

    We shall rue the day that we relinquish this honor and have to read “Made in China”! Perhaps, it would be more fitting to have sculptor Lei Yixin complete an MLK rendering and have it placed in the heart of Tiananmen Square.

    That should really send a clear message.

    Reply

  10. To Gilbert Young:
    Dr. King would hate you! You are limiting him in the united states, but he wants to go everywhere, expecially his spirit!
    “It’s ours” this is what you are claiming. Please keep in mind that all the right you have today is not only because lots of black people fought during those days, but also because a lots of white people said “It’s not only ours! It’s everyone’s!” Please show your respect to these white people while you are respecting Dr. King. Don’t forget them! I appreciate if someones list those names out following my reply.
    There are many wars in Africa. All of us are showing sympathy to those people who are killed. But .to Chinese, you are leading others to ignore those people who are killed. Your eyes are so selective! This definitely shows you are racism to chinese. Even, you are saying this for sculpting Dr. King’s statue. You are insulting Dr. King! You are insulting all the black people who follows Dr. King. Fortunately, you are not selected for this job.
    I appreciate if someone posts my above words everythere.

    Reply

  11. Pe, Dr. King wouldn’t hate anyone! It’s one thing to disagree, it’s another to attempt at thinking you know the mind of one who you obviously cannot. Fundamentally, the reality is that Dr. King was a civil rights activist. There were also many whites and others who marched with him. But who’s civil rights were they marching for? Why shouldn’t the benefactors of their struggle not get a chance to immortalize their champion and hero?

    Reply

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