The Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama is a memorial to 40 people who died in the struggle for equal and integrated treatment of people of European and African descent. The memorial is sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center. There is a guard standing across the street from the memorial to prevent vandalism, yet not so close to the monument as to resemble a prison.
The names included belong to those who died between 1954 and 1968. Those dates were chosen because in 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in schools was unlawful and 1968 is the year of Martin Luther King's assassination. The monument was created by Maya Lin who also created a similar work, the "Women's Table", at Yale University and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial was dedicated in 1989.
The concept of Maya Lin's design is based on the soothing and healing effect of water. It was inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.'s quotation "... we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. ...", from the "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered at the National Mall, Washington D.C. August 28, 1963. This passage in King's speech is a direct reference to Amos 5:24, as translated in the King James version of the Bible. The memorial is a round stone inverted cone, which is a fountain. A film of water flows over the base of the cone, which contains the 40 names. It is possible to touch the smooth film of water and temporarily alter the surface film, which quickly returns to smoothness.
As such, the memorial represents the aspiration of the American civil rights movement against racism.
By kjfitz @ 2010-02-04 09:13:43