Monuments And Memorials: Maya Lin, The Civil Rights Memorial

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Monuments and memorials have been created to commemorate those who have died in wars, assassinations, terrorist attacks, and even natural causes. Communities, states, and countries throughout the world would create these open memorials of those who have died during these historic events. A monument is a type of structure that was created to commemorate a person or important event, similarly, a memorial is an object which serves in memory of something or someone. Monuments and memorials are created and exist with intent of “fixing history”, according to Michael Rowlands and Christopher Tilly (500). This is why we create memorials; so future generations will understand and recognize the sacrifices and struggles of those who had been killed or …show more content…

The memorial is a circular black table, engraved with the names of the deceased and chronicles the history of the Civil Rights movement. Water emerges from the table's center and flows evenly across the top. Behind the table, the quote “We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” said by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is engraved. As Lin envisioned, the Memorial plaza is "a contemplative area — a place to remember the Civil Rights Movement, to honor those killed during the struggle, to appreciate how far the country has come in its quest for equality, and to consider how far it has to go." (Civil Rights Memorial). Many visitors of this memorial would feel the engraved names beneath the water flowing on top of the table. Visitors would appreciate the symbolic moment of the water flowing on top of the names of those who fought their lives to achieve the civil rights African Americans have to …show more content…

While the meaning of memorializing a specific person or moment in history varies, the impact remains the same. Monuments and memorials are open, everlasting, visual expressions of stories in time that communities choose not to forget. They are numerous reasons for a memorial or monument. Memorials aim to educate the public about the past and keeping a future memory of the past. Rowlands and Tilletly mentions there is an ongoing stress between history and someone’s memory of the history, and “memory has now subsumed what used to be called oral history… new leading term in the new cultural history” (Rowlands and Tilletly. 505) A memorial or monument is a symbolic way of focusing on elements of history infused with the narratives of people who experienced them, a live visualization of “new cultural history”. Monuments represent what the public values or rather what the public is meant to value, according to Marschall (90). Although this is true, memorials also represent the transitional journey from the moment in context to today, the peace achieved in our communities from a chaotic moment in time, and the ultimate sense of truth when acknowledging the names of those we

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