Today the public got to see its first glimpse of the completed monument to Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C. The sculpture, crafted by Chinese artist Lei Yixin, was greeted warmly by tourists, according to USA Today, but it's been dogged by controversy. The fact that both Yixin and the marble from which the artwork was carved are Chinese is one issue for critics. That Yixin has carved busts of communist leader Mao Zedong is another. "The colossal scale and Social Realist style of the proposed sculpture recalls a genre of political sculpture that has recently been pulled down in other countries," griped the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts in a 2008 statement. But the $120 million creation, fifteen years in the making, is historically significant: It'll be dedicated by Barack Obama, the country's first black president, on the anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech. That oration was delivered from the Lincoln Memorial — which itself stands in a direct line with the King memorial and the Jefferson memorial. What do you think of it?
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