Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial Dedication

Event Date: 
Sunday, July 3, 2011 - 11:22am - Saturday, July 16, 2011 - 11:22am

On August 28, 2011, a memorial to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be dedicated at the Tidal Basin on the mall in Washington, D.C. A proposal for a memorial to Dr. King was first voiced publicly in 1984. In 1996, President Clinton signed Congressional legislation proposing the establishment of a memorial in the District of Columbia to honor Dr. King. Several different sites on the mall were proposed as the place where the memorial to Dr. King would be located. In 1999, the National Capital Planning Commission voted to designate a four-acre site adjacent to the Tidal Basin as the permanent site. In addition to other aspects of the memorial, it will have 24 niches along an upper walkway to commemorate the contributions of many individuals who gave their lives in different ways for the cause of civil rights – from Medgar Evers to the four children killed in the 16thStreet Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. Private fund-raising for the memorial has been going on for over 10 years. It is estimated to cost $120 million, and most of that money has been raised. Construction began in November, 2009. The website of the memorial says the following:
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 three fundamental and recurring themes of Dr. King’s life: justice, democracy and hope. The circular geometry of the memorial, juxtaposed within the triangular configuration of the site, engages the Tidal Basin and frames views to the water…. 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….
The site will open for visitors on Monday, August 22. There will be a whole series of activities that first week, which will culminate in a dedication ceremony on August 28. Several of the events during the week are “by invitation only” and others are quite expensive; but there will be free musical concerts on the day of the dedication, and there will be informational and other booths set up in the area of the memorial during the week before the dedication.
There has not been a lot of publicity about the memorial to Dr. King being built on the mall, though I assume there will be more as the time of the dedication approaches. Certainly the ideals for which Dr. King stood, love of enemies and non-violent resistance to evil, need to be upheld and promoted in our society. In this time of wars abroad and hatred and violence against immigrants and others at home, we need Dr. King’s message and commitment more than ever.
Jeanne Marshall and a friend are attending the dedication itself and some other events during that week. Jeanne has promised to write us a description of the dedication ceremony, and her impression of the memorial, upon her return.
Curt Anderson

Posted on June 28, 2011 at 11:24 am in Featured Content.

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