The statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington D.C. was unveiled on Aug. 22, 2011. The memorial was supposed to be officially dedicated that month, but the ceremony was postponed due to Hurricane Irene and dedicated in October.
Yesterday, they finally dedicated the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Junior and now generations who never saw King alive will get to remember him via a 30-foot statue. But I'm a lot more interested in remembering King, the 5-foot-7-inch man.
Funny thing about statues or even old black and white film, you never grow old or tired...therefore, to most of us, Martin Luther King Jr. will always be the icon who gave the "I have a dream speech" in 1963. But fast forward five years and we would have found a far different Martin Luther King.
Hampton Sides, author of the book "Hellbound On His Trail" a history of the King assassination, describes King in that Spring of 1968 as exhausted, drinking more, sleeping less and his popularity declining as he turned his attention to economic inequality and the Vietnam War. He was deeply discouraged, even talking of going on sabbatical.
In other words, Sides says, King was human...flawed, vulnerable, afraid, and doubtful. How many of us in that place would find the strength to go to Memphis on behalf of striking sanitation workers to keep preaching non-violence in the face of many of your own people who no longer believed.
You see, at that point, King surely never expected a monument. Perhaps he even wondered if we would remember him. Yet, he kept on fighting....kept on marching anyway.