Intentional? MLK Memorial Does Not Mention the Words “Racism” or “Black”

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Martin Luther King Memorial fails to mention the word "black"

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World

Not meaning to be picky or to challenge those who worked with corporations to fund the Memorial built in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, but I had to mention this.  Someone sent me a message today stating that he’d been told during a meeting with the heads of the committee to build the memorial that race and racial inequality had been deliberately excluded from all of the quotes on the MLK Memorial.   According to the witness who sent me the message, the individual who made the decision to leave out Dr. King’s quotes on race and racial inequality felt that for his children, race isn’t a factor and that he wanted the memorial to go beyond race.

Here is what the person said in his message:

“Harry E. Johnson head of the King memorial told the group I was with when we received a tour of the memorial that the memorial intentionally did not have any quotes about race and that themes of the memorial intentionally avoided dealing with racial inequality. Mr. Johnson reasoned that for his children race isn’t an issue and that this memorial needed to go beyond race. I was blown away and saddened that somehow a King memorial would be allowed to be created that intentionally avoided the issue of race and racial inequality an issue that was at the center of Dr. King’s life work.”

I took a look at the list of quotes on the Martin Luther King Memorial and noticed that the words “black,” “negro” or “racism” do not exist anywhere in the list of statements by Dr. King.  In addition to the exclusion of words relating to race (other than a quote about transcending race, which is sure to please any post-racial enthusiast), there is little to no reference to Dr. King’s lifelong struggle for racial equality in America.  One small exception is a quote calling for us to commit ourselves to the “noble struggle for equal rights,” which can apply to equality for everyone, which doesn’t specifically reference race.   This reminds me of the age old argument that the Black civil rights struggle is no different from the struggles of the gay community, animal rights groups and everyone else (remember when PETA ran ads comparing dogs to slaves?).

I am not sure if those on the committee to design the memorial were unaware that Dr. King spent much of his life fighting for racial equality, or if they somehow concluded that the struggle was implied.  But I am not surprised that in a nation where discussing racial inequality is politically costly, that this issue would be left off the table.  It’s hard to argue that Dr. King would not be uniquely appalled by the fact that Black unemployment is nearly double that of whites, that Black men are being incarcerated at a rate that is seven times greater than white men, or that Black children  are being sent to woefully underfunded schools in the inner city.  If that’s not inequality, then I don’t know what is.

I’m sure Harry Johnson and others who were able to raise $120 million from companies like Walmart to build the monument are good men.  At the same time, Black men are rewarded for having a certain style of thinking when it comes to getting money from the pockets of our historical oppressors (I’m sure I’ll never get much money from Walmart).   I encourage Mr. Johnson to rethink his position and perhaps issue an explanation regarding why Dr. King should somehow be ashamed of his lifelong advocacy for Black men, women and children.  If Dr. King had not been a Black man in America, he would never have become Dr. King.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here. 



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  1. […] also could not help but notice that the words “racism” and “Black” were completely left out of the list of quotes that were placed on the King memorial.  Was this […]

  2. This is the get out of jail free card which allows the EEOC to commit crimes, frauds and take bribes. The president can correct this with an executive order if he’s honest.

    When individuals file lawsuits against the EEOC for alleged fraud, neglience, and other impropriety in processing their respective discrimination charges, the court has ruled against the plaintiff asserting the following: Congress has not authorized, either expressly or impliedly, a cause of action against the EEOC for the EEOC’s alleged negligence or other malfeasance in processing an employment discrimination. See Smith v. Casella, 119 F. 3d.

  3. Its clear to me that after reviewing Michelle Robinson-obama Bio that she was a member of the Daley crew. I mean she apart of the most politically corrupt family in this country (The Daley’s). Once a member of the Daley’s always a member of the Daley’s gang. Look at all the positions she had from harvard law school and the salaries she recieved. Involved with Americorp to funnel money. Worked at U of Chicago along with her husband. Involved with an intern when she was a member of sibley & austin’s managerment. Check out her families estate holdings.

  4. Its clear to me that after reviewing Michelle Robinson-obama Bio that she was a member of the Daley crew. I mean she apart of the most politically corrupt family in this country (The Daley’s). Once a member of the Daley’s always a member of the Daley’s gang. Look at all the positions she had from harvard law school and the salaries she recieved. Involved with Americorp to funnel money. Worked at U of Chicago along with her husband. Involved with an intern when she was a member of sibley & austin’s managerment. Check out her families estate holdings.

    Following law school, Michelle worked as an associate in the Chicago branch of the law firm Sidley Austin in the area of marketing and intellectual property. There in 1989, she met her future husband, Barack Obama, a summer intern whom she was assigned as an adviser. “I went to Harvard and he went to Harvard, and the firm thought, ‘Oh, we’ll hook these two people up,'” Michelle said. “So, you know, there was a little intrigue, but I must say after about a month, Barack…asked me out, and I thought no way. This is completely tacky.” Initially, she refused to date Obama, believing that their work relationship would make the romance improper. Eventually she relented, and the couple soon fell in love.

    After two years of dating, Barack proposed. “We were at a restaurant having dinner to celebrate the fact that he had finished the bar,” Michelle remembers. “Then the waiter came over with the dessert and a tray. And there was the ring. And I was completely shocked.” The couple married at Trinity United Church of Christ on October 18, 1992.

    High-Profile Work in Chicago
    Michelle soon left her job to launch a career in public service, serving as an assistant to Mayor Daley and then as the assistant commissioner of planning and development for the City of Chicago.

    In 1993, she became Executive Director for the Chicago office of Public Allies, a non-profit leadership-training program that helped young adults develop skills for future careers in the public sector.

    Michelle joined the University of Chicago in 1996 as associate dean of student services, developing the University’s first community service program. She then worked for the University of Chicago Hospitals beginning in 2002, as executive director of community relations and external affairs.

    In May 2005, she was appointed vice president of community relations and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she continues to work part-time. She also manages the business diversity program and sits on six boards, including the prestigious Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

  5. This is the response from the White House when informed of the FRAUD and CORRUPTION at the EEOC:

    July 30, 2012.

    Dear Ricardo:

    Thank you for writing. I have heard from many Americans about ways we can fundamentally rethink, reform, and remake our Government so it meets the demands of our times, and I appreciate your perspective.

    My Administration is committed to reform that ensures Government serves the public interest rather than special interests. The day after my inauguration, I signed my first Presidential Memorandum, “Transparency and Open Government,” calling for a more transparent, participatory, and collaborative Government that engages with the American people. That same day, I signed an Executive Order that imposes tougher ethics standards on this Administration than any in history. For too long, lobbyists have wielded undue influence, and this Executive Order helps close the “revolving door” between lobbying firms and Government.

    We have continued to deliver on our promise of leading an open and accountable Government by launching Ethics.gov—a centralized online database of lobbying reports, ethics information, and campaign finance filings that gives the public unprecedented access to information about how our Government works. In a single, user-friendly format, anyone can access and search millions of records detailing campaign contributions, White House visitor records, and lobbying registrations and reports. Ethics.gov builds on other resources we have implemented to cut down on fraud, waste, and abuse by tracking Government spending, including Data.gov, Recovery.gov, USASpending.gov, and StopFraud.gov.

    Additionally, I established the Campaign to Cut Waste in June 2011, which is aggressively rooting out misspent tax dollars, and sent Congress the Consolidating and Reforming Government Act to reinstate the authority past presidents have had to streamline the Executive Branch and create a leaner, more efficient Federal Government. There are currently six major departments and agencies in the Federal Government that focus primarily on business and trade. Consolidating these agencies along with other related programs would improve efficiency and save money. I will continue to develop proposals to make programs more effective and eliminate duplication, overlap, and excess overhead across our Government—improving services for America’s families and businesses and saving billions of taxpayer dollars.

    I am also doing everything in my power to help fight the destructive influence of money in politics and rebuild the trust between Washington and the American people. In April 2012, I was proud to sign the historic STOCK Act into law, which prevents Members of Congress from trading stocks based on nonpublic information obtained from their jobs. While this is a step in the right direction, much work remains. The American people also deserve to know who is spending money to influence their votes, so special interests do not drown out the voices of ordinary Americans. And we should limit any elected official from owning stocks in industries they have the power to influence, and make sure people who raise and bundle campaign contributions for Congress are prevented from lobbying Congress.

    I am confident that if we continue to join together in pursuit of a fairer society, our Government can uphold our Nation’s founding principles while meeting the demands of the 21st century. To learn more about how we are bringing change to Washington, please visit http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/21stCenturyGov. Thank you, again, for writing.


    Barack Obama

    MR. RICARDO JONES, SR. is a veteran and the former Senior Federal Investigator for the new York District of the EEOC from 2001 to 2010. He describes how …
    youtube.com/watch?v=qqyrvRaY4Ks – Cached
    MR. RICARDO JONES, SR. is a veteran and the former Senior Federal Investigator for the new York District of the EEOC from 2001 to 2010. He describes how the EEOC is a cesspool of corruption and racism. Blacks working in the United States have any protection from racial discrimination, because the EEOC unfairly rejects almost 97% of all cases filed by Blacks. Sellout Blacks in the EEOC and racist white workers in the government agency accept bribes and do their jobs in a sexually charged environment where sexual availability and tolerance of racial injustice places folks on the fast track. Jones was fired for refusing to play ball and accept bribes. If you want to file an EEOC complaint please watch this film.
    recorded..14 FEB 2012

    This is one of the reason’s for PH’d Jahi Issa arrest at DSU a HBCU. Vice Presidents Biden’s son Bo Biden attorney general state of Delaware involved in 1st Amendment violation and illegal arrest of Professor Issa.
    ■Posted by Ricardo Jones on October 27, 2012 at 4:23pm in Take ‘Em To Task■View Discussions
    Arthuretta Holmes-Martin v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Racial Discrimination, race, age, disability


    the plaintiff, an African-American woman, began working as the Deputy Director of the OSDBU, an office within the Department of Health and Human Services. Pl.’s Opp’n to Def.’s Renewed Mot. for Summ. J. (“Pl.’s Opp’n”) at 3. Her first line supervisor was Debbie Ridgely, a white female, the Director of the OSDBU. Id.

    In 2004, Ridgely hired Clarence Randall, a white male, to serve as her “Special Advisor,” a position created, the plaintiff claims, to supersede the plaintiff’s position. Id. at 3. The plaintiff alleges that over the following months, Ridgely transferred many of the plaintiff’s responsibilities to Randall, such that Randall effectively assumed the role of Ridgely’s deputy.

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