Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

King Me

Ok, a Diet Coke and a game of Scrabble to get my blood pressure back up, and now I'm ready to really write something . . .

- - -

I heard on the news, as most folks probably did, that the children of MLK were squabbling over the potential sale of the King Center to the federal government. Almost all the news wires carried the press conference statements of Bernice King and Martin King III with no additional comment. The general upshot of their comments was: "Don't sell out to the Man."

Somehow I smelled a larger story in all this, and found a New York Times article that gave a little more background. It turns out that the King brothers have been drawing six-figure saleries from King foundation while they neglected the maintenance of the center and allowed it to fall into disrepair. The center receives millions of dollars from the federal government in grants to host programs and develop curricula, and yet almost all the programs at the center have ceased and and it only plays a minor role in Atlanta's MLK Day celebrations. Investigations from the Atlanta press and federal departments have looked into shady dealings with Dexter King's for-profit company and and incestuous board made almost entirely of King family members.

The feds, who already run many other nearby historic sites related to MLK and his legacy, are dying to get their hands on the center so they can (gasp) actually use it, instead of keeping its chapel locked, its archive restricted, and its auditorium empty. And somehow, Bernice and Martin think this is "selling out." To hear them talk, you'd think the Department of the Interior was getting ready to bulldoze the place.

Unfortunately, the "independent voice" that Bernice and Martin want to preserve has apparently never really existed. Rather than use the center, they hoard it, taking from their father's legacy without continuing it.

So who is it, exactly, that sold out?


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