After $120 million and 25 years of development, the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the National Mall opened to the public Monday. A dedication was set for Sunday, marking the 48th anniversary of King’s "I Have a Dream Speech." However Hurricane Irene, the storm hurtling itself at the east coast, caused the dedication to be delayed. Big storms aren’t the memorial's only problem. As TJS writer Jamie Stiehm pointed out in the Washington Post, the memorial incorrectly attributes a Theodore Parker quote—"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,"—to King. (Obama made the same mistake on a rug he had sewn for the White House.) [Read Jamie Stiehm: What Obama Can Learn at the Martin Luther King Memorial]
The opening of the memorial also calls that the country to reflect on how far it has—or hasn’t come—in realizing King’s dream of racial equality. Sure, we have an African American inhabiting the highest office in the land (although President Obama’s popularity is not what it used to be). But with the fervor over unemployment dominating the national conscious today, race has not been given the attention it perhaps deserves. Recent numbers show that the Great Recession hit minorities much harder than their white counterparts, suggesting we do not live in a "post-racial" America after all.
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