Work on the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial is almost complete, and the dedication is set for Aug. 28.
WUSA9 spoke with the chief sculptor, Lei Yi Xin of China, as he finished chiseling the 28-foot-sculpture by the Tidal Basin:
Speaking in Mandarin, Lei says this project is the most significant in his lifetime: “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is a such a significant person in history. He is not only an American hero. He is also our world’s hero. It is also a huge significance that I am working on a project in the capital of the United States.”
Lei says he admires Dr. King for his fight for equality among people of all races.
The work is even more impressive considering that Lei did much of the sculpting from memory.
Some of you may remember the controversy surrounding the memorial, including the selection of Lei as the sculptor and criticism that King’s face was too harsh and confrontational. WUSA9 reports that “four separate faces were constructed and presented to Dr. King’s children. The family ultimately chose one of the faces, which was actually the original face of the sculpture.”