Skip to content ↓

MLK piece evokes conflict between reality and ideal

This silhouette of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is part of the Lobby 10 installation in his honor.
This silhouette of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is part of the Lobby 10 installation in his honor.
Photo / Donna Coveney

The dramatic installation in Lobby 10 honoring the life, work and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. combines a larger-than-life silhouette portrait of Dr. King with posed, life-sized manikins and a path into a "minority circle" designed to guide viewer/participants in seeing both the dream and the historical realities of race relations in America.

The installation is the product of the IAP Martin Luther King design seminar led by Tobie Weiner, undergraduate administrator in the Department of Political Science, in collaboration with students. It runs through Sunday, Feb. 10.

Weiner summarized the students' goals in creating the MLK installation as reflecting "both the ideals of Dr. King as well as their own struggles and dreams."

The student designers said in a collectively written statement, "In today's politically correct world, we are led to believe that we live the dream of total equality and justice; however, this has not yet been realized. Our installation is a reminder of the contradiction that exists between today's reality and the ideal we strive to achieve. It celebrates the continuing struggle for civil rights that will bring Dr. King's dream to fruition.

"The path to this dream has been darkened by hatred and ignorance throughout the history of this country, but it is illuminated by the love and wisdom of the many proponents of justice our nation has seen. The MIT community forms an important element of the social and technical vanguard, and with this position comes the great responsibility of helping to lead the struggle. The installation in Lobby 10 is both a call to action and a commemoration of one of America's greatest leaders."

The students who participated in the MLK design seminar are holding a forum tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 4-370 to show one of the videos they made in the seminar and to discuss race relations.

The 28th annual breakfast celebrating Dr. King's life and legacy will be held this Friday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 a.m. in Morss Hall in Walker Memorial. This year's speaker is television correspondent, author and political commentator Tavis Smiley. He will speak on the theme of this year's celebration, "From Dreams to Reality: The Illusion of Full Inclusion."

To receive an invitation, go to the online form and click on Breakfast Invitation Request. Fill out the form and call in your RSVP. You must request an invitation by the end of today.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 6, 2002.

Related Topics

More MIT News