This January marks the 50th year since the assassination of Martin Lither King Jr. by the United States government. Murdered at the prime of his career as a social agitator Martin Lither King Jr.’s image has become eternally associated with the concept of integration. It is a misnomer that Martin Lither King Jr.’s politic stood opposing to the ideas of self determination . In fact it is often a mistake that is ingrained in the way Black history is taught – the eternal image of two sides: assimilation or separation.
Racial attitudes and disparity has been largely portrayed as the responsibility of Black people. So what does it mean to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th year since his assassination ? I would be wary of individuals who frame this somber occasion as the “50th anniversary of his death” – because really what is there to celebrate when the very ideals that King stood for are ignored ?
After discussing the issues surrounding this day, Artivism Community Art developed a project titled “We Remember You”. Organized as a day of remembering for all those who have passed to the other side in sacrifice to this country. Participants were asked to create a paper figure of a person who sacrificed in order for them to succeed. These figures were then stacked to create an installation in which the figures are continuing the march for justice, equality, and unity. The installation is complete when the projector is turned on and the shadows cast off from the figures create the third layer to the image. The shadows represent everyone who had to die in order for our ancestors to march.
The conversation that occurred during the event was emotional and allowed the participants to discuss this day with each other.