04 April 2013

The Lorraine Motel

Japanese-method woodblock (moku hanga)
Paper size: 13" x 9.5" (33 x 24 cm)
Paper: Echizen kozo
Made with 3 shina plywood blocks, 9 color layers
Edition: 20

Forty five years ago today, Martin Luther King was shot and killed on a balcony at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had come to show support for black sanitary public works employees who were on strike. The room where King was staying has been memorialized since 1968, and in the 1990s the Lorraine was converted into The National Civil Rights Museum. I've never been to the museum, but they seem to have permanent exhibits as well as rotating special exhibits. I worked from a photograph for this print and I left the “E” off the word “violence” just as it appears in the photograph. My impression is that the National Civil Rights Museum works on a pretty low budget and I like the way the absence of the letter shows that.

… if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of taking a kind of general and panoramic view of the whole of human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, "Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?" ...Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, "If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy."

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I'm happy, tonight.
I'm not worried about anything.
I'm not fearing any man!
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!

- Martin Luther King Jr., the night before he was killed at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis.


William Evertson said...

Great work as always. Love the shading and colors. It really seems to pop. Potent story behind the print.

Annie B said...

Thanks, William. From the photo, it looks like not much has changed since the late 60s.

Lisa Toth said...

Beautiful print. As always both the message and the beauty of your work shines through. Lovely color as well.

Andrew Stone said...

Nice work Annie; Nice composition and colors. Glad you've been thinking about this a long time. It looks
"effortless" which means it took a lot of work.
Timely (as always).
Thanks for sharing the quote too, it's been a while since I've read his writings/speeches.