Because of a $7 million shortfall, the Martin Luther King Jr. Foundation will not break ground on the $100 million monument to the slain civil rights leader this month as previously scheduled.
Guess who is on schedule? Sculptor Lei Yixin. A native and resident of China, much was made of Yixin participation in the project with some feeling that the task of chiseling King’s likeness into granite should have gone to a black American, or at the very least, an American. (For more about the controversy, check out my post, “Quick Take: Martin Luther King Memorial Made in China?”)
For some reason, after 20 years trying to get this thing off the ground, or rather on the grounds, foundation president Harry Johnson remains “optimistic.” I would have been more optimistic if he had used the word, “determined”.
What will it take to close the deal? A full court press by the foundation which enlists the aid of “black media” stalwarts like Tom Joyner of the nationally syndicated radio show, the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” and Michael Basiden, host of another syndicated radio broadcast. Both men, who have millions of loyal listeners, can provide the public awareness which can translate into dollars donated.