Leland Stein III

Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

King Monument: WE are being distracted by nonsense

In politics on September 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm

 Maybe the shakedown is us

 By Leland Stein III

Why shouldn’t the King family receive some kind of monetary gift? Should we really let that distract us from the beauty that has recently happened on the National Mall? No!

 We are bickering over something that has nothing to do with any of us. Have we walked a mile in the King children’s shoes? No! Do we really know their intrinsic pain? No!

 We have just experienced one of the great triumphs in our history, getting the first African-American icon memorialized in Washington D.C. on the National Mall with our country’s so-called greatest leaders . . . yet, here we are bickering – again.

 I defer to former Alpha president Harry E. Johnson Sr., now president and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation: “Although the National Park Service said that, to its knowledge, no one had ever before charged such a fee, the said fees ($800,000) were not a burden (out of $120 million raised) and that the foundation has a good relationship with the King family.”

 Why isn’t Johnson’s retort good enough for everyone? It is for me.

 Yet here we are bickering and many critics are tossing out words and phrases to describe the king children for taking a small copyright fee like “absolutely scandalized,” “considered extortion,” “I’m ticked off,” and “making a buck off their martyred dad.”

As far as historian David Garrow telling the AP, “I don’t think the Jefferson family, the Lincoln family [or] any other group of family ancestors has been paid a licensing fee for a memorial in Washington.”

 Wow! That is so irrelevant and immaterial to 2011 realities. Plus all those men quoted by Garrow were presidents and with that stature come mo money, mo money. I think it is safe to postulate that Dr. King did not get rich from his efforts. I wonder at his death if he even had a pension.

 The facts of the matter is the King family has never seen the wealth that Jefferson, Washington and Lincoln enjoyed. I’m sure while African-Americans were wallowing in the mucky mire of racism and segregation, those three families were well taken care of by our Anglo brothers and sisters, and, therefore have had generation after generation of earning power and unimpeded access to America’s economic enhancements.

 One report notes that the King Center in Atlanta is in need of $11 million in repairs. I’ve been there and it is a massive Center and I can see how the maintenance would be problematic.

 And why shouldn’t . . . one of the greatest orators in history have all his speeches copyrighted? One critic noted that he agrees “King’s books or published essays, should have ownership rights of his descendants. But public speeches? His image? His name?”

Why shouldn’t his public speeches, image and name not have ownership rights. Hey, former Lakers coach Pat Riley copyrighted “Three Peat.”

Before the King family tried to harness all their father material, America and others were using all his writing in books and curriculum (I have a couple of his books and one is on quotes alone). Other writers get paid for that same right. I really believe if King would have lived at some point he would have copyrighted his works . . . he would be foolish to not do that.

The thing that eats at me though is the King children’s apparent inability to get along and settle family differences (don’t we all have them) in private. That is the strangest thing to me.