MLK memorial has to be tied to action, not just symbolism

Re “A double MLK tribute” by Adrian Walker (Metro, June 11): The proposal to build two privately financed Boston memorials in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is gaining momentum. The prime mover, tech entrepreneur Paul English, envisions the memorials, one on Boston Common and another in Roxbury, not merely as inert statues or other artwork but as a catalyst for change in the spirit of King.

That is a tall order, and it remains to be seen how English will achieve his purpose. It’s worth noting that King himself eschewed the kind of memorial that would simply recognize his many achievements. No, in one of his last sermons he implored that people remember him as a “drum major for justice” who had dedicated his life to making of “this old world a new world.”

In his life and words King epitomized the conviction that change results not from pious symbolism but from nonviolent protest, from marches and bodies-on-the-line confrontation, to prod government and society toward justice.

Joseph Rosenbloom


The writer is the author of the recently published “Redemption: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Last 31 Hours.”