By Raynard Jackson
With all the attention being focused on the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this week, I have been pondering what he would have to say about the state of his legacy. In the immortal words of Lionel Richie (former lead singer of the Commodores):
“I may be just a foolish dreamer but I don’t care
Cause I know my happiness is waiting out there somewhere
I’m searching for that silver lining
Horizons that I’ve never seen
Oh I’d like to take just a moment and dream my dream
Oooh, dream my dream” (from the song Zoom1977).
I can imagine King looking down from on high and observing the state of his dream:
What the hell has become of my dream?
Nothing is what it really seems.
My people have been emancipated, but yet are not free,
Just look at the high rate of poverty.
My people have better education,
But they also exhibit less dedication.
Their thirst for material possessions,
Seems to be their only obsession.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project,
Let the record show I totally object.
To spend $ 120 million and to what end?
That’s not what the dream was about my friend.
Lei Yixin, the sculptor that was chosen,
When I found out, my mouth was frozen.
A man from China where there are no human rights,
You can believe I would have put up a big fight!
$ 800,000 to my family for the use of my name,
Yolanda, Marty, Dexter, and Bernice what a shame.
Yeah, I know there is money in intellectual property,
But, my dream was always more towards the heavenly.
A German to build a memorial to the Holocaust?
The Jewish community would have been at a loss.
But my people gave the work to a non American,
This oddity I really can’t understand.
You couldn’t have chosen someone like the sculptor Ed Dwight?
Afterall, the U.S. Air Force trusted him to take planes into flight.
A Black man trained as a sculptor, aviator and an aeronautical engineer,
His choice should have been crystal clear.
Getting the raw materials from a foreign land,
To build the platform on which I stand.
From China of all places, a repressive regime,
This choice makes me want to scream!
Temporary workers from China you brought to this land,
What, there were no American workers skilled with their hands?
No doubt this was all about cheap wages,
This has been man’s downfall throughout the ages.
Oh, and what’s this I hear about the granite brought in from China?
You couldn’t find any in North Carolina?
Has my dream really come down to this?
I thought by now there would be a new twist.
When I left earth to take my rest,
I thought my people could pass the test.
Now, as I look down on this situation,
I wish I could have one more incarnation.
But, who am I to question what God has started?
Maybe that’s why I am a member of the dearly departed.
I now wish I could have one more run,
But my fate was tied to the barrel of a gun.
So, as I leave you with these final words,
I hope the true meaning of my vision is what you heard.
I am not allowed to come back and continue the fight,
So, please try to get my dream right.
I will pray that God will open your eyes,
Because what I see is a stunning surprise.
The dream was not about the money spent,
But helping those who could barely pay their rent.
Yes, it’s true that the dream was for all of mankind,
But, what I see you doing is not what I had in mind.
My dream was not about the color of the skin,
But, tell me where does the Black man fit in?
But, giving contracts to those from a foreign nation,
Was not part of my dream of emancipation?
Everything for this project could have come from within
Please understand what I am saying to you my friend.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm. He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com) & USAfrica Magazine (www.USAfricaonline.com).