It’s offensive to my sense of propriety that such a thing as the “MLK Jr. Plaza/Fraser Garage rehabilitation project” exists. I say this in the context of having thought about personifying Penn State’s monumental leaders, wherein I would include MLK as one of the place’s more notable guests.
But in the Borough of State College’s formulation? Of MLK being honored as part of a parking garage “rehabilitation” project? No.
He spoke to Penn Staters months before his historical visit to Selma, Alabama. He spoke about American values in a time when others were pushing to speak exclusively about racial values. He spoke inclusively about issues that were too often then perceived to be exclusive by their nature. He was a remarkable visitor in the Nittany Valley’s history. He deserves far better than to be recognized as part of a municipal parking project.
He deserves a place on Penn State’s campus, specifically in bronze in front of Rec Hall where he spoke. I hope someday, regardless of what happens in State College, the deciders at Penn State place a fitting monument to a man who embodied Pennsylvanian ideals of inclusion far earlier than when they came to be understood as American ideals.