Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Opens to Public

On October 16, the national memorial for Martin Luther King Jr. will be officially dedicated. The event was rescheduled from August due to Hurricane Irene. Because schools are back in session, the original attendance estimate of 250,000 has been lowered to 50,000. The four-acre park has been open to the public since August.

The site of the memorial is along the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. It is the first memorial for an African American within the National Mall and the first major monument for someone other than a president. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech provides the inspiration for the park’s design. The 30-foot statue of King shows him emerging from a block of stone, a reference to his hope for “hew[ing] out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” Fourteen more quotations from other of King’s speeches are inscribed along a 450-foot wall. The address of the memorial is 1964 Independence Avenue, a reference to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The design of the memorial has stirred some controversy. One criticism is that the sculptor is Chinese, and the stone used is from China. Critics also say that one of the most prominent inscriptions misrepresents King’s view of his role within the civil rights movement. The controversial inscription reads, “I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness.” It is a paraphrasing of a longer passage in which he theorized about his possible eulogy. Detractors believe that the rewording gives King a sense of arrogance that he did not possess. The designers of the project, however, stand behind their decision to shorten the quotation in order to make it more prominent within the space provided.

Despite the controversy over the design, many visitors to the site feel that it is an important and moving reminder of the accomplishments of Dr. King.

Image credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

 Related Links

  • The Official MLK Memorial Web Site
    Learn about the building and dedication of the memorial. This site includes a time line of events in MLK’s life and the process of building the monument, plus descriptions of the meanings behind various design elements.
    (Source: MLK Memorial Official Web Site; accessed September 30, 2011)
  • A Mirror of Greatness, Blurred
    Explore the controversy over the MLK memorial and view examples of other memorials whose designs caused disagreement; includes slideshow of the new monument.
    (Source: New York Times, August 25, 2011)
  • Public Gets First Glimpse of MLK Memorial
    Watch video footage showing views of the memorial and interviews with members of the public expressing their reactions and opinions about the memorial and Martin Luther King’s achievements.
    (Source: CBS News, August 22, 2011)
  • National Mall & Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C.
    View maps of the National Mall showing locations of the many national memorials and monuments in Washington, D.C.
    (Source: National Park Service; accessed September 30, 2011)



  1. Dezzy says:

    Martin Luther King JR. was a very intellegent man who did alot of things for the black community. He deserved this memorial beacuse of his good history and his accomplishments during his life.

  2. naenae says:

    martin luther king jr was a great man he changed history and if he did not i would not be in school posting this comment.also i wish i could have meet him in person

  3. Riann says:

    rest inn peacee martin luther king you will NEVER be forgotten EVER

  4. myracle dudley says:

    rest in peace to the man who told the white people that just because we are black dose not mean nothing love you martin

  5. raivon says:

    love u

  6. almarshay@ says:

    thhis is great

  7. sanae says:

    its so nice to see a black man being remebered but it took a long time…….

  8. Shaniyah Bell says:

    I think its very inspiring to have and african american person that is not an president being recognized for his hard work,great achievements,and wonderful citizenship thank you Martin Luther King for everything r.i.p .

  9. Morgan says:

    I Think It Is Very Important To Have An African American As A Monument . People Will Look Up To Him As A Great Leader And Will Never Forget Him .

  10. rigby says:

    thats good finaly they give the man prpper respect 🙂

  11. Elizabeth says:

    I think this picture is really cool.But I also know that he was a brave many ways in life.

  12. nina says:

    i didnt even know this was happening. but its good to know that it is now, because what that man did for our country was GREAT!!!! hats off for mr. king.

  13. anthony says:

    good book !

  14. Genie says:

    That’s cool! And I think this would really help me, since the bonus question is current events

  15. madison says:


  16. kesha says:

    martin is cool

  17. cece says:

    hi this is cool

  18. taliyah says:

    i love martin

  19. michelle says:


  20. goose says:


  21. TERRANCE says:


  22. jewel says:

    martin luther king did goood things.r.i.p

  23. mookie says:

    rip j.r

  24. asia, samera says:

    wow! it is a lot of things about martin luther king jr. it is a lot of interesting things about him. i know that many people wish that he was alive because we know we do!!! now we have to go !!!

  25. Anonymous says:

    r.i.p. martin

  26. prescilla says:

    i will miss him yeah sad sighs

  27. alexis m says:

    R.I.P MLKJ

  28. KIARA W says:


  29. casie says:

    so sad that he died 🙁 🙂 😀 <3 ;(

  30. rachel says:

    martin luther king was a great man he changed our community

  31. Coach Z says:

    That is a legacy worth having.. great man with a greater dream.

  32. who shall not be named says:

    i love king very much

  33. randy rayon says:

    this was a good book r.i.p mlkj

  34. Jessica says:

    Martin was a wonderful man. 😀 HES AWESOMEEEEE

  35. raachel says:

    He did give a wonderful speech!!! He was great for that! I HAVE A DREAM………

  36. vena says:

    i am from Asia and i really like him he is my idol

  37. Dontae says:

    dis is so cool

  38. Anonymous says:


    • Veliswa says:

      I’m not sure I am with you on that. I take it you’re thinking of the renect spate of released and announced Hollywood adaptations of anime/manga titles? (There’s no American connection in these Evangelion films, at least not so far as I know.) While it’s true that most Hollywood remakes of foreign films are ill-advised and/or dreadful, they’re not _all_ bad and I’m not hostile to cross-cultural remakes per se. More broadly speaking, there’s no shortage of great films from many countries’ cinemas that owe a great deal to cross-cultural artistic currents. To bring it back to specifics, I am intrigued rather than off-put by the idea of an American Cowboy Bebop; the heavy Western art influences on that series make it potentially a great fit for the Hollywood treatment. I guess what I’m saying is that I’d rather take the remake issue on a case-by-case basis. In other words, if the Cowboy Bebop adaptation turns out to be a terrible film that fulfills fans’ darkest forebodings, then it will only prove that this version by these people was terrible, not that an American version should never have been attempted.

  39. Anonymous #2 says:

    Why did they give a memorial for him?

  40. danecia gantt says:

    Martin Luther King had A dream:)

  41. danecia gantt says:

    Martin Luther King had A dream:)

  42. bob says:


  43. ariana says:

    he had a dream<3

  44. xander says:

    i love him

  45. gracie says:

    this is great!

  46. Simone says:

    I HAD A DREAM! last night, it was about tacos.

  47. Sumerian DogFace Poop says:

    (Licking My Lips And Rubbing My Stomach Stiil Thinking About CHICKEN THAT HE MADE ) OH BABY Yeah Mhmmmm You Just Don’t Know How Good it was Mhmmmmm…awww

  48. phil says:

    had a dream i was king i woke up still king.

  49. anne says:

    martin luther king jr.was a great man yes indeed he helped all of us i had a dream that chicken would always be fried yummmmm……..

  50. phil says:

    ooohhhh yeahh

  51. phil says:


  52. Brooklyn says:

    Omg that is awesome that the memorial opened up

  53. mellykelly:) says:

    this is interesting even tho i hav to do a work sheet on it this is pretty cool hahaha not reely

  54. dan says:

    ya man this is soooo tight!!!!! i luv it i luv it man ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  55. maiya says:

    this statue is dabombdigiddy(awesme he looookkkk good

  56. FUotorious p5 says:

    Ihh Honestlyy Respectt Martinn Lutherr Kingg Becausee Hee Stoodd Upp Forr Hiss Counrtyy ! Andd Toldd Peoplee Whatt Itt Wass Andd Howw Hee Feltt Aboutt Thee SATIUATIONN Andd All due respect thanks for what you did todayy martinn RIP !

    • Kevin says:

      Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wenatd to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  57. Geraldine Kendrea12 says:

    Martin Luther King Jr. was and still is a great man so i think people should take time out of their schedule to go to his memorial and show their appreciation for all of the things Dr.King has done for us

  58. jayjay3333 says:

    loooooooken good Martin Luther King Jr. its good that they did this for him 🙂

  59. boss says:

    sad he died

  60. goodygirl says:

    Going see it 2013! God spare live:)

  61. jose the awsome says:

    It is a hart warming and sad story

  62. Anonymous says:

    good thing they did that so i can tell my kids thats a strong black man.

  63. luis says:

    that’s just crazy

  64. boomer says:


  65. Asia says:

    martin luther king jr. was a good man he expires me too never give up

  66. Hannah says:

    He was an amazing man. Seriously he was. I show respect to what he did by studying and not taking advantage of the freedom he gave us, instead of spelling like some children. Spell better people. I don’t care if it’s the internet. Show Respect. Rest In Peace Martin Luther King, Jr.