Huffpost Parents

The MLK Jr. Memorial: A Family Dinner Table Talk

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This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

Last weekend, the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial finally got its dedication ceremony. The monument was unveiled to the public in August, but there was no fanfare, no big party, because Hurricane Irene blew through DC -- where it sits on the National Mall with Lincoln and Washington too -- that same week.

And, while nobody disputed the original idea to honor Dr. King, several other conflicts have come up with regard to this statue, one that should be cause for celebration.

Poet and author Maya Angelou said that paraphrasing one of Dr. King's most famous quotes on the monument skews its original meaning. It reads:

"I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness"

This was from a speech about how Dr. King did not want to be singled out or praised for anything. Other critics have questioned the use of white stone to portray a black hero. Then, there is the fact that Chinese laborers built the thing.

The goal -- to celebrate the life of a proponent of peace who changed history and cement his place in it for all to see -- has been achieved. But, it's worth talking about what all these missteps mean, and taking a moment for each of us to honor Dr. King at our own family tables.

Questions for discussion:
  • What is the purpose of building a memorial for someone?
  • Who else do you think should be honored this way?
  • What do you think about the monument being built in white stone?
  • What are some other ways that we can preserve someone's memory?

Plus, new on Family Dinner Table Talk: Each week, we give you something to talk about at dinner time, but now, something to eat too! This week's recipe comes to us from Stacie Billis of One Hungry Mama: Pasta with Beets and Poppy Seeds.

In her new cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

To see last week's Family Dinner Download, click here.

Subscribe to receive HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads by email every Friday afternoon.

For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (thefamilydinnerbook.com).