History Buzz August 22, 2011: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Memorial Opens in Washington’s National Mall


History Buzz

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.


Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial will officially be dedicated on Sunday. More Photos »


“With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

“Why you don’t see a lot of race … is because we hope that in the next 100 years, we hope that in the next 50 or 20 years, that won’t be important. It’s important that you have food in your belly, that you have clothes on your back, that you have education.” — Harry Johnson, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation.

“Martin Luther King is not only a hero of Americans, he also is a hero of the world, and he pursued the universal dream of the people of the world.” — Master sculptor Lei Yixin of Changsha, China


Martin Luther King’s Speech: ‘I Have a Dream’ – The Full TextABC News

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds that seven in 10 Americans are very or somewhat interested in visiting the memorial.
Yet there’s a gap between races: 68% of black Americans are very interested, compared with 22% of whites.

Poll: MLK’s dream realized, but a gulf between races remains: Just over half of Americans polled say Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of racial equality has been fulfilled, and another one in four of those surveyed say major progress has been made toward it.
A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds both pride and division on race relations. Nearly everyone — 90% of whites and 85% of blacks — says civil rights for blacks have improved in the USA during their lifetime, although whites are more likely to see the progress as far-reaching…. – USA Today, 8-17-11

  • Photos: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Is Unveiled in Washington: Washingtonians and visitors are now able to see the memorial dedicated to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which will sit in the nation’s capital, flanked by memorials to Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. Hundreds of people came early Monday … – TIME, 8-22-11
  • Images: MLK Jr. Memorial: The statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is seen unveiled from scaffolding during the soft opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, Monday, Aug. 22, 2011. The memorial will be dedicated Sunday, Aug. 28. … – Chicago Daily Herald, 8-22-11
  • Why MLK Memorial is one of the last new structures on the National Mall: The MLK Memorial, which the public gets a glimpse of Monday, is between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials. Its centerpiece is a 30-foot statue of Martin Luther King Jr…. – CS Monitor, 8-22-11
  • For March on Washington participants, memories linger decades later: Graphic: Multimedia: Civil rights leaders, including John Lewis, Juanita Abernathy and Jesse Jackson, remember Martin Luther King Jr. and the March on Washington…. – WaPo, 8-24-11Rep. Hastings: The struggle continues for King’s dreamThe HillRep. Meeks: Making the dream a realityThe Hill

    Rep. Rangel: The dream lives onThe Hill

    Rep. Clay: A memorial is not enoughThe Hill

    Rep. Clarke: Continuing to build the dreamThe Hill

    Rep. Conyers: Dr. King’s dream of jobs, justice and peaceThe Hill

    Rep. Carson: A renewed call to positive actionThe Hill

    Rep. Bishop: Reflections on Dr. King’s memorialThe Hill

  • MLK Jr. Memorial Dedication Events: Monday’s debut kicks off a week of black-tie, white-tie and informal events all geared toward raising money for and drawing attention to the memorial and Sunday’s dedication. During that event, President Obama will bury a time capsule that will include items from him, the memorial foundation and the King family, said Harry Johnson, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation.
    The dedication will take place on the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, during which King delivered his seminal “I Have a Dream” speech. The week will bring together civil rights luminaries, including Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the last surviving organizer of the March on Washington; Joseph Lowery, who helped launch the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and former United Nations ambassador and King confidante Andrew Young…. – USA Today, 8-22-11
  • National Mall adds Martin Luther King tribute: There will an anticipated crowd of more than 250,000 spectators Sunday for the dedication of the King memorial – a tranquil monument of stone, greenery and trees along the northwest edge of Washington’s Tidal Basin that will honor the slain civil rights leader.
    Sunday’s ceremony, which coincides with the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, will officially open the first monument on the National Mall honoring an African-American.
    The $120 million memorial is part of a burgeoning number of monuments in the nation’s capital recognizing African-American contributions to American life and culture.
    On Washington’s busy U Street corridor, the African American Civil War Museum recently reopened in a new, 5,000-square-foot home to better tell the story of the 200,000 slaves and freed African-Americans who fought in the conflict…. – Nashua Telegraph, 8-23-11
  • A Dream Both Realized and Deferred: If one were to look up “tenacity” in a dictionary, one might well simply search for logo of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, or a photograph of the MLK Memorial Foundation’s Executive Director Harry Johnson, Sr…. – Chicago Defender, 8-22-11
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s children grapple with his legacy: The children of the iconic civil rights leader have been burdened with his legacy, and have weathered their share of family turmoil since his death…. – WaPo, 8-24-11
  • Memorial Review A Mirror of Greatness, Blurred: It is a momentous occasion. Into an honored array of presidents and soldiers — the founders and protectors of the nation — has come a minister, a man without epaulets or civilian authority, who was not a creator of laws, but someone who, for a time, was a deliberate violator of them; not a wager of war but someone who, throughout his short life, was pretty much a pacifist; not an associate of the nation’s ruling elite but someone who, in many cases, would have been prevented from joining it.
    That figure is the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and this Sunday, when his four-acre, $120 million memorial on the edge of the Tidal Basin is to be officially dedicated, it will be adjacent to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s, across the water from Thomas Jefferson’s, and along an axis leading from that founding father directly to Abraham Lincoln’s. There are few figures in American history with similar credentials who would have even a remotely comparable claim for national remembrance on the Washington Mall…. – NYT, 8-25-11
  • Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream returns to Mall 6 of 9: Years in the making, a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. opened to the public Monday…. – CBS News, 8-22-11
  • Martin Luther King Memorial details in one spot: The new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened Monday to smaller crowds than we’ll probably see later this week and on Sunday, when the official dedication takes place. The memorial opens at 8 am Tuesday and Wednesday and 9 am … – WaPo, 8-22-11
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial unveiled: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is revealed to members of the press before opening to the public today. The design is derived from part of King’s famous “I have a dream” speech when he said, “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the … – WaPo, 8-22-11
  • King memorial opens to the public today: The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial was 25 years in the making. The first members of the public to see the official opening of Washington’s new $120 million memorial to the … – WaPo, 8-22-11
  • Exploring the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial: The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial will be dedicated on Aug. 28, the 48th anniversary of the day King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. plug-in now — it only takes a minute. The sculpture, called the “Stone of Hope,” gets its name from…. – WaPo, 8-22-11
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Monument Opens In DC: The much-anticipated memorial to civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. opened today on the National Mall. Hundreds gathered for the first look at the towering 30-foot-tall granite sculpture of King, located in between the monuments … – New York Daily News, 8-22-11
  • Martin Luther King Jr. memorial opens in Washington: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took a permanent place today on the National Mall, as a federal memorial to the civil rights leader opened to the public…. – Atlanta Journal Constitution, 8-22-11
  • What Obama Can Learn at the Martin Luther King Memorial: While the president is hanging out—or hiding out—on Martha’s Vineyard sands and greens, he’s missing a chance for spiritual solace right here in Washington, where he could commune with the spirits and memorial spaces of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and—yes!—the new sculptural arrival on the National Mall: Martin Luther King, Jr…. – US News, 8-23-11
  • Martin Luther King Jr. memorial opens on National Mall: Some were locals who have watched for years as the memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. took shape on the National Mall. Some were tourists who happened to be in Washington the day it opened. … – Fort Worth Star Telegram, 8-22-11
  • King’s monument to unfinished work: The memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King opened Monday on the Mall in Washington. Dr. King will take his place with Lincoln, Jefferson, Washington and FDR. The monument features a 30-foot figure of Dr. King, hewn from granite, looking forward…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 8-22-11
  • Off The Ground: Creating The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial: The new Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is scheduled to be dedicated on Aug. 28 — the anniversary of the civil rights leader’s “I Have A Dream” speech. The memorial, located on the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, was several decades in the making…. – NPR, 8-22-11
  • Washington eyes tourism from MLK monument: Hundreds of thousands of people will gather later this month on the National Mall to witness the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the first new monument to debut in Washington, DC, since 2004. But if history repeats itself…. – Atlanta Business Chronicle, 8-19-11
  • MLK memorial ‘holy ground’ for many: The official unveiling of the latest memorial on the National Mall is scheduled for Sunday, August 28…. – WaPo, 8-23-11
  • MLK organizers monitoring Hurricane Irene: The National Park Service and organizers of the dedication of the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial are closely monitoring Hurricane Irene, which is currently forecast to be moving up the East Coast and into the Mid-Atlantic … – WaPo, 8-23-11
  • CIGNA Honored to Sponsor Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial: Company donated $1 million to Memorial celebrating life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. American history will be made Sunday as the first memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC is dedicated to a private citizen — Dr. Martin Luther King … – MarketWatch, 8-24-11
  • Having a black sculptor for King would have been nice: Let’s face it: There really is something peculiar about having an artist from communist China sculpt the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial statue. And, yes, it would have been fantastic had an African American sculptor been chosen…. – WaPo, 8-24-11
  • Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. in libraries, books: By Janice D’Arcy The unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is more than a celebration of history. It’s a claim to the future. The memory of MLK and the civil rights movement will not fade if this granite tribute has anything to do with it. … – WaPo, 8-22-11
  • Richard Lischer: King’s statue a national challenge: Forty-eight years ago on a sweltering August day in Washington, D.C., the Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the defining speech of the 20th century. Writing in The New York Times the next day, James Reston predicted, “It will be a long time before [America] forgets the melodious and melancholy voice of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. crying out his dreams to the multitude.”
    Reston was right. King has become only the fourth nonpresident and the first African-American to be honored with a monument on or near the National Mall. His memorial all but proclaims him our first black president, the father of a country so utterly transformed that his neighbors — Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and, yes, even Lincoln — would not have recognized it…. – AJC, 8-25-11
  • Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Honored with Memorial: US President Barack Obama leads the nation this Sunday in honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. – with the dedication of a new memorial…. – Voice of America, 8-25-11
  • Remembering Martin Luther King and the March for Jobs and Freedom: With the formal unveiling of the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King on August 28 – the anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – the National Mall will house a memorial to a man who never held the nation’s highest office but brought it closer to its highest ideals.
    Together with the national celebration of his birthday, the commemoration of the march and the quotation of his speeches, the new memorial ensures that Dr. King will be remembered. But will he be remembered rightly, not only as the subject of a monument but also as the leader of a movement for “jobs and freedom”?…. – The Hill, 8-25-11
  • Memorial to civil rights hero to be dedicated in DC: Despite a threat from Hurricane Irene, hundreds of thousands of people are headed to the nation’s capital for the dedication of the Dr. Martin King, Jr., Memorial. Washington, D.C., officials predicted crowds of up to a million for the week-long festivities that culminate Sunday in the unveiling of a monument in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which opened to the public Monday….. – The South Florida Times, 8-25-11
  • Earthquake alters MLK plans: The official Wednesday night opening event of the five-day dedication celebration of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial has been moved from the National Building Museum to the Washington Convention Center, officials announced.
    The event, a gala dinner entitled “Honoring Global Leaders for Peace,” had to be moved because the museum suffered damage in Tuesday’s earthquake, according to Harry E. Johnson Sr., the president of the foundation that built the memorial, located on the northwest shore of the Tidal Basin…. – WaPo, 8-24-11
  • Houston civil rights icon Lawson honored in DC: The Rev. Bill Lawson and other early civil rights activists were celebrated Thursday at a luncheon in the Washington Convention Center. Houston Chronicle, 8-25-11
  • Houston civil rights leader William Lawson honored by officials gathered for memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr.: A civil rights icon from Houston — the Rev. William Alexander Lawson – was honored with other pioneers of the nationwide movement on Thursday by political and civil rights leaders gathered in the nation’s capital for the dedication of the memorial to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr…. – Houston Chronicle, 8-25-11
  • Jesse Jackson slams Tea Party at MLK event: Jesse Jackson said Thursday that the Tea Party’s tenets are reminiscent of state’s rights philosophies used in decades past to oppose federally mandated integration…. – USA Today, 8-25-11
  • A memorial to Martin Luther King Jr.: By Editorial, OVER THE YEARS, an army of statues has been deployed in the parks, circles and squares of the nation’s capital, many of them commemorating men who played a role in what should have been the liberation of the African people in America. … – WaPo, 8-25-11
  • Eugene Robinson: A dream still out of reach: As the nation honors the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with a stirring new memorial on the National Mall, let’s not obscure one of his most important messages in a fog of sentiment. Justice, he told us, is not just a legal or moral question but a matter of economics as well.
    In this sense, we’re not advancing toward the fulfillment of King’s dream. We’re heading in the opposite direction.
    Aug. 28 is the anniversary of the 1963 march and rally at which King delivered the indelible “I Have a Dream” speech. That event — one of the watershed moments of 20th-century America — was officially called the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” Meaningful employment was a front-and-center demand…. – WaPo, 8-25-11
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