ABOVE PHOTO: In this undated photograph released by the MLK National Memorial Foundation, sculptor Master Lei Yixin of China looks at a scale model of the “Stone of Hope,” a piece he has created which will be the centerpiece of the new King memorial.
(AP Photo/MLK National Memorial Foundation)
Washington, D.C. – The Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. announced plans for the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. The official dedication will occur on Sunday, August 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s historic I Have A Dream speech, beginning with a pre-dedication concert at 10 AM. The dedication ceremony will commence at 11 AM and a post-dedication concert will follow beginning at 2 PM.
“We are thrilled that we will be dedicating the Memorial to Dr. King in the coming months, and the Foundation looks forward, with great pride, to presenting this Memorial – this dream – that we’ve worked to build, to the people. Dr. King, his life, his dream, and his legacy, will be a source of history and inspiration for all people, for all time,” said Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president and CEO of the MLK Memorial Foundation. “I’m very much looking forward to celebrating this momentous event with my fellow Americans and people around the world who understand what this memorial stands for, and the relevance of Dr. King’s message.”
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is the first on the National Mall to honor a man of hope, a man of peace, and a man of color. Located on the Tidal Basin, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial creates a visual line of leadership between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. The memorial will be an engaging landscape experience conveying four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King’s life – democracy, justice, hope, and love – and features the use of natural elements including water, stone, and trees. A 450-foot inscription wall will feature more than a dozen Dr. King quotes engraved into granite to serve as a lasting testament and reminder of Dr. King’s humanitarian vision. The memorial will include the “Mountain of Despair” and the “Stone of Hope,” which will feature a 30-foot sculpture of Dr. King.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is conceived of as an engaging landscape experience tied to other landscapes and monuments, not as a single object or memorial dominating the site. The composition of the memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King’s message: justice, democracy, hope and love. The semicircular geometry of the memorial, juxtaposed within the triangular configuration of the site, engages the Tidal Basin and frames views to the water.
The main entrance through the crescent-shaped inscription wall is aligned along the axis of the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, placing this memorial directly in line with the larger democratic ideals that form the context for King’s words and deeds. The memorial is envisioned as a quiet and receptive space, yet at the same time, powerful and emotionally evocative, reflecting the spirit of the message Dr. King delivered and the role he played in society.
The King Memorial is intended to be personally transformative for visitors, building a sense of commitment to the promise of positive change and active citizenship. Drawing from Dr. King’s own rich metaphorical language, the themes of “the Man, the Movement and the Message” are intertwined into a larger experience of place.
To learn more about dedication plans, including events that will take place earlier in Dedication Week, please visit www.dedicatethedream.org. The site will be updated frequently as Dedication planning progresses and offer the latest available information. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Foundation is currently collecting personal stories about how Dr. King affected the lives of Americans and people around the world. All are invited to submit memories of working alongside Dr. King, participating in the March on Washington, and more by visiting www.dedicatethedream.org/mystory.