Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedicated
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the morning of October 16, 2011, more than ten thousand D.C. residents and other visitors converged near the National Mall on the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. to honor the civil rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by dedicating a major new memorial in his honor.
The memorial depicts Dr. King emerging from a 30-foot-tall block of granite stone pushed forward from a similar surrounding blocks on either side, representing a literal depiction of a famous phrase from his iconic August 28, 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech: “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” Dr. King gazes out across the Tidal Basin, a decorative pool just south of the National Mall, toward the bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson within the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on the opposite bank of the Tidal Basin.
A host of speakers, including President Barack Obama, a son and daughter of Dr. King, and many civil rights leaders, praised Dr. King’s commitment to non- violent means to achieve civil and economic rights for African-Americans and other historically disadvantaged groups in the country. They also pointed to unfinished civil and economic rights work for the country, particularly with respect to
economic security for Americans, and urged a new generation to pick up Dr. King’s torch and push for social change.
Hurricane Irene forced the postponement of the dedication ceremony, which had originally been scheduled for August 28, 2011, the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech. That speech was given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. before a crowd of more than 250,000 and proved influential in spurring Congress to pass, and President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign into law, civil rights legislation in 1964. That year, Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work bringing civil rights to minorities through non-violent means. Dr. King was assassinated in 1968.