In the early 1960’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights leader, teacher and great orator, challenged the unification of a nation through its own diversity and as a result the civil rights movement developed in America. On August 28, 1963, Dr. King gave his infamous speech known as, “I Have A Dream” speech, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C and forty-eight years later a memorial will be dedicated in honor of Dr. King. The dedication service was scheduled to occur on Sunday, August 28, 2011, but due to the anticipated weather from Hurricane Irene, and in the interest of public safety, the service has been postponed to a later date.
The journey for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial has come a long way, beginning on November 12, 1996, when President Bill Clinton signed Congressional legislation proposing the establishment of a Memorial in the District of Columbia to honor Dr. King. The memorial was designed by the ROMA Design Group, based out of San Francisco, CA and was sculpted by a team led by head sculptor, Master Lei Yixin. Third generation artisan and stone carver, Nicholas Benson, developed the script for the memorial. To make this memorial more than just a dream, over the past few years there have been many people and organizations who helped to raise funds to bring the memorial to fruition. MLK Memorial Foundation has provided information throughout the development process of the memorial. The MLK Memorial Foundation’s mission is “to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by leading a collaborative funding, design, and construction process in the creation of a memorial to honor his national and international contributions to world peace through non-violent social change.”
The MLK Memorial opened to the public on Monday, August 22, 2011.