MLK Billboard to Overlook Confederate Memorial
My wife Tracie and I are raising money to buy one (1) month of advertising on a billboard that stands across the road from the newly erected Confederate Memorial of the Wind (above), a monument built by the Sons of Confederate Veterans on Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. in Orange, Texas along Interstate 10.
In observance of Martin Luther King Day (January 21, 2019) and African American History Month (February) , the billboard will look down on the memorial, which (as of this posting) includes the Robert E. Lee battle flag, otherwise known as "the Confederate Flag."
Artwork for the billboard (below) was created pro bono by an anonymous designer.
The City of Orange, the local business community, and even a group of local pastors have asked the Sons member who organized the monument's construction, Granvel Block, to consider repurposing the site. But he refuses to engage in dialog.
Given the demographics of Orange and the legacy of Jim Crow there, it's clear that the conspicuous display of the Confederate Flag doesn't reflect or align with community values. The monument's prominent location (along a major road that leads into town, just a few freeway stops west of the Louisiana border), makes it highly visible to drivers as they arrive in the state heading west. See the photo below, taken this week by an Orange resident.
(Read a February 2018 Houstonia magazine article on the monument here.)
The content of the billboard will include an appeal to local residents and drivers to ask the Sons to repurpose the site. It will also include a link to a blog I've created to document our efforts, RepurposeMemorial.com .
My hope is to have the ad up by the end of next week. And I have already contacted the outdoor advertising company that owns the billboard to get the artwork and ad approved.
Tracie and I have been protesting the memorial since December 2017 and we have no intention of giving up on our cause: to remind the residents of Orange (where Tracie grew up and where her family lives) that it's socially unacceptable to display images like the Confederate Flag in such a conspicuous location and fashion, with no regard for the values and feelings of the greater community.
We cannot thank you enough for your support. We've had so many residents thank us publicly and privately for our protests. We are wholly convinced that we need to speak out on this issue.
Above: This image will look down on the memorial from across the road. We hope to have it up by Martin Luther King Day (January 21).
Thanks so much to everyone who contributed and shared. Our billboard is now live! See attached photos. On MLK Day (Monday, January 21), Tracie, our girls, and I will be part of the NACCP Orange program at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church at 11 a.m. and then we will head over to the site for a 2-hour protest with our billboard looking down on the Confederate memorial (located at Martin Luther King Dr. and I-10). The billboard is highly visible from the interstate, btw. Thanks so much to everyone who helped make this possible. We actually brought in $270 more than we needed. That money will go to our next billboard campaign in the spring. Thank you! And HAPPY MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY!