If you've been paying attention to news about the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington D.C., you know that it's been beset by controversy and delays since the project began two decades ago. Critics have objected to the monument's modest size (30 feet), the selection of a Chinese sculptor and the statue's white granite, which gives MLK a decidedly pale, freckly skin tone. Poet Maya Angelou has said that the monument's inscription ("I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness") misquotes King, making him sound like an "arrogant twit." And finally, Hurricane Irene put a major dent in ceremonial plans, resulting in an indefinite postponement of the memorial's dedication.
None of those challenges, however, compares to the long, difficult life of the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Crazy Horse was a Sioux chief who fought at the Battle of the Little Big Horn over a century ago and the enormous memorial dedicated to his memory was begun in 1947. Eccentric sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, profiled on "60 Minutes" in 1977, started carving a mountain into a 563-foot-high Crazy Horse statue in his late 30s. He raised his kids on the mountain, putting them to work with jackhammers and dynamite, and he continued to labor on the project until he died in 1982. More than 15 years after his death, one relatively small but important part of the sculpture was finally completed - the face. Today, the Ziolkowski family is still working away on the memorial, led by the sculptor's long-suffering 85-year-old widow, Ruth.
Was the MLK memorial really so hard, compared to this?