Dr Martin Luther King Memorial: Honouring the Activist's Legacy - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  756 Words
Date:  2023-02-26


Dr Martin Luther King Memorial is among the modern-day artefacts that best represents today's culture. The structure is the latest addition in the list of pieces in the United States to mark the legacy of the activist. The location of the monument is in West Potomac Park at 1964 Independence Avenue, to reference the year Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed to law. Walker states that the memorial was officially opened in 2011, the 48th anniversary of the Washington jobs and freedom march (12). The space it sits on is a place to contemplate Martin Luther King Jr who gave his life for freedom, justice, and equality. King's statue is a significant piece and the first to honor an African American.

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Dr Martin Luther King Jr. was a Reverend who spearheaded various protests during the United States civil rights movements of the mid-50s. Dr King was a bright man who stood up to fight legal segregation and advocate for equality for African Americans. His legacy will forever impact the society since without him blacks could perhaps still be treated as second class citizens. He organized sit-ins, boycotts, and marches. Despite him and his supporters experiencing violent responses in their quest for equal rights, Dr. king never raised a finger of anger towards anyone. He will forever be remembered for his eloquent speeches, such as Have a Dream that touched the heart, spirit, and lives of those who heard him (Walker 6). His monument is significant and will be around for ages and will stand as a representation of a great man who did great things for his country. As generations come and learn about the past, the monument will be there for them to learn about the man who paved way for blacks to have rights and freedom like other people.

The social significance and relevance of Martin Luther King Memorial Monument are further highlighted in various literature. According to Alderman and Joshua, Dr King image is carved into the stone of hope, emerging from a pair of rocks which started as one and represented the mountain of despair (190). These are symbolic of the stirring words of Dr King which are visible on the side of stone of hope. Bruyneel insists that guests enter through the Mountain of Despair and view the artefact as though moving through Dr King's fights before finishing with the open freedom plaza (86). This transition further highpoints the vital role played by Dr King.

The theoretical framework of sociologist WEB Du Bois can be related to this artefact. Du Bois, in his scientific research of race, discovered the broad economic spectrum that black people fell into. In his study, he was able to develop theory of the Benevolent Despot or Benevolent Capitalist. At the time of developing the theory, Du Bois had staunch convictions that white people had the solution to the societal issue of racism. He believed that blacks were subjected to unfair treatment because they had no one to help prevent the loss of skills and know-how they had learned. Also, nobody was encouraging them to go out, gain knowledge and learn more skills. For Du Bois, the benevolent despot might have existed and provided help to the black community by teaching them new skills and educating on various social injustices. However, lack of follow-ups afterwards was another issue that meant all went in vain. He insisted that the oppression that African Americans experienced was self-inflicted. Basically, Du Bois maintained the notion that Blacks should take self-responsibility and hold themselves accountable for their problem rather than blaming others. In this way, the main push for reforms will come from Blacks themselves and begin with protests for sanitation, health foods, and proper homes.


In summary Dr King is a prominent historical figure whose struggles helped changed society. Honoring the man by a monument serves as a remembrance and show of gratitude to a man whose actions echoed those of WEB Du Bois. For Blacks to achieve equality, the struggle was to come from within themselves. Martin Luther King Memorial Monument is a cultural artefact that will stand to remind about the human rights struggle of the 50s.

Works Cited

Alderman, Derek H. and FJ Inwood Joshua. "Landscapes of memory and socially just futures." The Wiley-Blackwell companion to cultural geography (2013): 186-197.

Bruyneel, Kevin. "The king's body: The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the politics of collective memory." History & Memory 26.1 (2014): 75-108.

Walker, Jefferson. King Returns to Washington: Explorations of Memory, Rhetoric, and Politics in the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. Springer, 2017.

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Dr Martin Luther King Memorial: Honouring the Activist's Legacy - Essay Sample. (2023, Feb 26). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/dr-martin-luther-king-memorial-honouring-the-activists-legacy-essay-sample

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