History Headlines August 25, 2011: Hurricane Irene Postpones Sunday’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Dedication


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.



King memorial dedication postponed: The 30-foot granite statue has been cleaned. Dignitaries from around the world are in town. And the stage and 30,000 folding chairs are in place.
But it has all been in vain, as the foundation building the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial announced Thursday that the dedication Sunday has been postponed. Officials seemed to have little choice with Hurricane Irene bearing down on the region….. – WaPo, 8-25-11

“I’m really disappointed and hurt, really. But the memorial is going to be there forever…. “It is still a success because we have a memorial. We have worked so many years for this memorial, and that is a success within itself. To say that Dr. King is now on the Mall between the Jefferson and Lincoln memorial[s], you can’t ask for anything better than that. We just didn’t have a dedication; hopefully everyone will understand.” — Harry E. Johnson Sr., chief executive of the MLK, Jr. memorial foundation

“Destination DC shares the disappointment expressed today by the Washington DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation to delay the official dedication of this new national treasure in the nation’s capital, but applauds the decision made in the interest of public safety for the thousands of visitors who had planned to travel to DC this weekend. The dedication that will be rescheduled in the next couple of months will be a further opportunity to properly honor Dr. King’s legacy and welcome the new memorial to the National Mall. The silver lining in the storm is that this memorial has a home here and will be a permanent place of reflection for visitors from around the world. After this weekend’s storms pass, we hope that people from near and far will make their way to DC to experience this powerful memorial.” — Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC

  • Dedication of King Memorial postponed by Hurricane Irene: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial dedication has been postponed due to Hurricane Irene’s impending assault on the East Coast, NBC News has learned.
    The dedication ceremony’s organizers — the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation — announced its decision on Thursday night, citing the interest of public safety.
    If weather permits, the memorial will be open on Friday and Saturday, though the official dedication will be moved to September or October.
    As many as 300,000 people had been expected to flock to the National Mall on Sunday to watch the dedication of a memorial in the civil rights leader’s honor….. – MSNBC, 8-24-11
  • Irene scuttles Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial dedication: The head of the foundation that organized Sunday’s planned dedication ceremony on Washington’s National Mall for a memorial to the late Martin Luther King Jr. announced Thursday night that the official dedication has been postponed.
    As Hurricane Irene continued to barrel toward the Washington area, Harry Johnson, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, said safety prompted the decision. He said he consulted with the National Park Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency…. – USA Today, 8-25-11
  • BET to dedicate Sunday’s programming to MLK: BET still plans to dedicate Sunday’s programming to Martin Luther King, Jr., even though his memorial won’t be unveiled that day due to Hurricane Irene…. – WSJ, 8-25-11
  • MLK memorial postponement costs D.C. tourist dollars: Sunday’s star-studded dedication of the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C. was canceled late Thursday due to the anticipated presence of rain and winds from Hurricane Irene.
    The event, due to be attended by President Obama, Jesse Jackson and hundreds of other dignitaries, has been postponed till fall.
    Meanwhile, the District of Columbia stands to lose millions in revenue from visitors due to pack its hotels and restaurants…. – USA Today, 8-25-11
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