after $32 mil for papers, some free land

it appears that coke is going to donate land near the georgia aquarium to the city of atlanta to construct a national civil rights museum (see ajc here.) good for coke! i am sure there are some cynics out there who will see some nefarious corporate plot to all of this, but in my eyes this is just a great example of a company doing the right thing.

i watched an episode of the classic pbs documentary “eyes on the prize” (which by the way, you owe it to yourself to watch if you never have) the other night, and it never fails to move me. no matter what i think today about the politics of john lewis, jesse jackson, andy young or others, the trials they went through in the basic cause of freedom and human decency deserve a national home to be memorialized, honored and cherished in. and atlanta is the capital of the movement. the museum should be here.

kudos to the mayor for her vision to bring this museum here. kudos to coke for donating the land.

and now i think the most appropriate thing is for the king family to return the $32 million dollars they made selling dr. king’s papers to the city to help construct the shrine to memorialize all the things he worked for*.

6 Comments so far

  1. Deb A (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2006 @ 4:41 pm

    The only potiential issue with this is the fact that there are already so many “national” civil rights museums. In fact there is one already with that name in Memphis (it is in the former Lorriane Hotel, site of MLK’s assination). Then you have the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham. Then add in the MLK site already in ATL and I have to wonder if there is enough visitors and items to go around.

  2. Maggie (unregistered) on October 23rd, 2006 @ 5:20 pm

    Coke also gave the city funds for Dr. King’s funeral in 1968. According to _Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn_, Robert Woodruff called up Mayor Ivan Allen and said, “I want you to do whatever is right and necessary, and whatever the city can’t pay for will be taken care of. Just do it right.”

    I’m not ready to say coke is a paragon of virtue. . .but they do invest in the city, no doubt.

  3. Annie (unregistered) on October 24th, 2006 @ 10:41 am

    I agree that Coke’s heart is in the right place. I also agree that King’s memory should be honored. It already is at the King Center here in Atlanta. I have to agree with Deb A.: Do we really have the patrons to support this?

    I do believe that King’s papers are important, but more important than the needs of the current residents of our city? It just seems like a lot of money to be shelled out, in the end, by the taxpayers of the city, with very little chance of any return. Not wise money-management, in my opinion.

  4. james (unregistered) on October 24th, 2006 @ 10:51 am

    well, i don’t think any of these are near the scope of what the city has planned. i really believe atlanta is the palce for a national museum that would honor the entire movement.

    i also think in the end this will require little outlay on the city’s part other than the time, effort and staff to pull it together. coroporate sponsors, foundations and individual benefactors will put up most of the cash.

    as for king’s papers, they belonged in atlanta and as i posted before, i am damn glad the mayor figured out a way to save them from heading somewhere else.

  5. MLK XIV (unregistered) on October 24th, 2006 @ 8:33 pm

    As long as no public money is spent on the museum, I have no problem with it being built. It was certainly a nice gift on Coca-Cola’s part, but I question the need for another civil rights museum. Memphis and Birmingham have wonderful civil rights museums. The Lorraine Motel is an historical site as opposed to filler between two other museums. Atlanta already has the King Center and the Atlanta History Museum. Why not add to these entities instead of creating a separate museum?

  6. ftp (unregistered) on October 29th, 2006 @ 11:54 am

    You guys are so right. It’s like art museums. Yo know, why have the High Museum in Atlanta, when you have the Louvre, the MoMa (Modern now), the Tate, et al. And art is more relevant to NYC, London, and Paris than Atlanta, right? I mean, why have a new museum in each city that celebrates art. I mean, it’s already been done, right? Why have our museums share work with each other and new items, let’s all just keep it all in ONE LOCATION.

    This is just like civil rights museums…why force Atlanta residents to stay in their city and visit something here when can pay to drive to Memphis and Birmingham? Atlanta already the King center, so no one else should make a new tribute to civil rights, we only need one, and Atlanta is not the right place for a national tribute. Birm. & Memphis are MORE RELEVANT. There is no history here, folks.

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