Although the formal dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, DC, is not until August 28 (as we indicated in this post last week), the memorial officially opened on Monday. I was among the hundreds of tourists and locals that visited the new MLK Memorial and below are some photos I took of the site.
To give you a sense of what you will be looking at, the King Memorial is situated between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials on four acres of the National Mall overlooking the Tidal Basin. One enters the King Memorial through a “mountain of despair,” symbolism mentioned in Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech:
“With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
Beyond the mountain of despair lies the “stone of hope,” from which a 30-foot marble statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. emerges. Surrounding the central statue of Dr. King are low, granite walls inscribed with 14 quotes from Dr. King’s speeches.
The MLK Memorial is located on four acres on the Tidal Basin, site of Washington’s famous Japanese cherry trees, and sits within a “line of leadership” between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. The line ties Dr. King to President Lincoln, author of the Emancipation Proclamation and on whose memorial Dr. King gave his “Dream” speech, and Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. “Peace” and “independence” are two of the main themes of the MLK Memorial, even down to the Memorial’s official address. The street number in the address 1964 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20024 refers to the Civil Right’s Act of 1964.
Although it does not open for another week, would-be visitors can watch the construction cam to watch workers put the finishing touches on the King Memorial. The video below also provides more information about the memorial, its location, design, and landscaping.