“Out Of The Mountain of Despair, A Stone Of Hope” is the inscription touted on the side of The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial at the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. The quote, taken from King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, is prominently on display as a more recent addition to The National Mall. The granite relief stands 30 feet high and is surrounded by inscription walls, holding 14 more quotes that focus on 4 primary messages of Dr. King; justice, democracy, hope and love.
When initially presented, the monument was met with some criticism in design choices, most notably from Ed Rothstein, art critic of the New York Times, who posited that the depiction of King was overly “stern”. Regardless of the reception, the monument is an accurate reflection of the Civil Rights Leader who maintained change through nonviolence and civil disobedience.
The song this week is Otis Redding’s “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember”. Aside from the work of another figure taken abruptly from the world, I find fitting that Redding’s run of lyrics depict acting in a way that have a higher goal in mind. King’s legacy is much greater than one speech. His letters from Birmingham jail are a solid read. His marches met with violence and vitriol across multiple cities are well documented.
I hope we take this day to remember the example set by a man of standing up for what he believed in and acting in love at each turn along the way.