Monday, August 29, 2011

The Man Becomes Monument with MLK Addition to National Mall

Sunday, August 28th, was the 48th anniversary of the now-renown speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Civil Rights activist and Baptist pastor, as part of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Outlining inequalities in the government's and the peoples' treatment of African-Americans, King declared that, a century after the Emancipation Proclamation, "The life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination." He continued:
One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.
A video of the full speech is embedded below, and audio-only versions and transcripts are also widely available.

Hailed for encouraging Americans to protest peacefully for racial equality under the law, King's message was a sharp contrast to that of his contemporary, Malcolm X (née Malcolm Little), who famously demanded in 1965 that racial justice be established in the country, "By any means necessary." The two men continue to rival one another in practical and academic debates on how racial equality can best be achieved, but it was the philosophy of non-violence that garnered Dr. King the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, and it was this same philosophy -- rooted in Dr. King's beliefs as far back as his high school years in 1944 -- cited by Congress in December, 1995, when authorizing the fundraising that would enable a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King to be built on Washington D.C.'s National Mall.

In discussions about the Monument on the Senate floor, the then-Senator for Maryland, Paul Sarbanes, quoted King's wife, Coretta:

Sarbanes went on to add:

Sunday, August 28th, was to be the culmination of these efforts -- by Dr. King (and Malcolm X), to see racial equality brought to the United States; by the United States government, to give its citizens a voice in their destiny and representation at the fullest level; and by the work of many others, from those who were a part of the Civil Rights Movement to those who aided the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity in their goals to fund the monument. Until the interruption caused by Hurricane Irene, the day was to be the official dedication of the completed monument to Martin Luther King, Jr., located at 1964 Independence Avenue, on the National Mall.

The MLK Monument is unique in several ways. It is the first monument on the Mall that does not commemorate either a war, or a president, or a white man. It is the first on the Mall designed by a Chinese national (Lei Yixin), and was built using both labor and granite from China -- points of public controversy for a monument to an American historical icon, particularly one whose life work sought representation for marginalized groups in America.

These issues aside, there is a wealth of additional information available about the new MLK Monument. The Monument's Web site features information about the development of the project, as well as its conceptualization, including a virtual tour of the site (embedded below).

The Washington Post has compiled visual and statistical information about the monument and its individual components, and a photographic collage that allows viewers to explore the monument from all sides.

Click the image to view The WaPo's article on the MLK Monument.

One cannot argue with Coretta King in how rare Dr. King's accomplishments were. Does the Monument pay tribute enough? Taking the information above as a whole, what are your feelings about the Monument to Dr. Martin Luther King? How does it speak to his contributions to Civil Rights and to human rights? How has his work affected your own life, and how does Dr. King's work continue to progress the national conversation about race relations? Is there more work to be done?

When the new date for the official dedication is announced, an event where President Obama is scheduled to speak, we will add an update to the Gov Info blog. In the meantime, please feel free to use the comments box below to share your own thoughts about the Monument or about Dr. King's work toward racial equality.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake on the East Coast

Yesterday afternoon at 1:51 EST the east coast experienced a 5.8 earthquake centered near Mineral, Virginia. This earthquake was felt as far away as New York City. The image below is from the USGS and shows the intensity felt in the immediate area of the quake.

If you would like to read the technical jargon on this quake or see more maps, the USGS has a web page for this quake.

You will notice on the map above that the Washington, DC area is in yellow, indicating a stronger intensity in the quake in that area. This has resulted in the shutdown of the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral.

Interestingly, yesterday also brought a 5.3 magnitude quake to southern Colorado, but unlike the quake on the east coast, those of us here in central Colorado probably did not feel this quake.

This graph shows the distance in kilometers from the epicenter that individuals felt this quake, a similar graph for the Virginia quake still has reports of 2 on the intensity scale out to 1000 km (621.4 miles for the curious).

Want to see a map of all the various earthquakes happening in the world? The Earth Sciences Library has a kiosk right inside the entrance which lights up with the various quakes.

GAO Reports and Releases

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) which is often called the investigative arm of Congress. This set of publications from GAO investigates the energy, foreign relations, health care, and many other issues. If you would like to know more about GAO, check out the library's guide.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Documents for August, 2011

As with each weekly shipment, several interesting new federal documents have made their way to the shelves of the GIL.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate "Snapshots from the Past," (SuDoc no. I 29.2:D 41/6) a history of the Denali Alaska National Park and Preserve from the National Park Service. The book features dozens of maps and reproduced photographs and is organized by different sections of the national park.

Rear cover image from "Snapshots of the Past."

And while you're visiting the NPS's Denali Park Web site, be sure to check out the Sled Dog Puppies Webcam. So cute.

From National Defense University Press comes "Understanding War in Afghanistan," (SuDoc no. D 5.402:W 19/2) a short, 140-page primer authored by Joseph J. Collins, faculty of the National War College. The thesis provides an introduction to the country, a chapter on the Soviet-Afghan War of 1978-1989, and a summary of the nation's history and internal conflicts from 9/11 onward.

An ethnolinguistic map of Afghanistan from Collins's book.

The last title we're highlighting this week is a bit of well deserved self-promotion from the Government Printing Office, the department responsible for the distribution of federal documents to libraries across the United States.

"Keeping America Informed" (SuDoc No. GP 1.2:IN 3/2) pays tribute to the 150 years that GPO has served the American people by making available to them federal government documents. Without the GPO, there would be no Federal Depository Library Program, no depository collection at CU Boulder, and no Government Information Library blog. Well, not as interesting of a blog, anyway.

"Keeping America Informed" (PDF) is rich with imagery, biographies, and history from the GPO's long tenure.