Building The Dream
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
In 2007, supporters of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King Kr. National Memorial rang the New York Stock Exchange Opening Bell to mark the beginning of construction. After raising over $114 million and rallying the support of celebrities, large-scale corporations, and enthusiastic citizens, the Memorial Foundation has recently announced that the memorial is complete.
Built in honor of civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the memorial is a symbol of Dr. King’s lifelong pursuit of lasting peace and his dedication to social reform through non-violent means. As visitors enter the memorial, they walk through a boulder, representative of Dr. King’s struggle. Visitors read Dr. King’s own words, “out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope,” as they pass the boulder and arrive in an open space filled with trees and flowers, symbolic of Dr. King’s dream and ultimate success. There stands a 30-foot sculpture of the man himself.
The memorial, which includes a 450-foot Inscription Wall filled with 14 memorable quotes by Dr. King, captures the four fundamental principles of Dr. King’s message—justice, democracy, hope and love. The water from the Tidal Basin, adjacent to the memorial, represents justice, while the blooming cherry blossoms are a symbol of eternal hope. The memorial commemorates Dr. King’s passion for equality and global peace, which inspired thousands of people in the mid 1900s and continues to do so today. The memorial stands as a constant reminder to D.C. residents and visitors alike of Dr King’s strong-willed spirit, relentless courage, optimistic worldview, and lasting contributions to our society.
The Memorial Foundation recently announced that opening day will be August 28th, 2011, the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. An official dedication ceremony will begin at 11 a.m., with a pre-dedication concert starting at 10 a.m. and a post-dedication concert at 2 p.m. Tickets for the event were distributed through an online lottery months ago, but standing areas are open to the public and do not require a ticket.
With opening day only a few weeks away, supporters from all over the area are excited to take part in the historic inauguration of the District’s first memorial celebrating Dr. King, a true American hero.