Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a world with equality for all. Today, his dream lives on at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC. Open to the public, the newest memorial on the National Mall is the fourth to honor a non-president and the first to honor a man of color. The memorial was designed as a lasting tribute to Dr. King’s legacy and will forever serve as a monument to the freedom, opportunity and justice for which he stood.
Opened 48 years after Dr. King’s stirring “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC welcomes another great leader to the National Mall. A visit to the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is a must-see on any trip to the nation’s capital. The memorial is situated on a four-acre site along the Tidal Basin, adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and sharing a direct line of sight between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. It is open daily, with park rangers on site from 8 a.m. to midnight.
The centerpiece of the memorial is a 30-foot statue of Dr. King. His likeness is carved into the Stone of Hope, which emerges powerfully from two large boulders. The two boulders, which started as one, represent the Mountain of Despair. The boulders are split in half to give way to the Stone of Hope, which appears to have been thrust forward toward the horizon in a great monolithic struggle. The Stone of Hope and the Mountain of Despair together represent the soul-stirring words from Dr. King’s history-making “I Have a Dream” speech. On the visible side of the Stone of Hope, the text from King’s famed 1963 speech is cut sharply into the rock: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” On the other side are inscribed these words: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” a statement suggested by Dr. King himself when describing how he would like to be remembered. Every visitor enters through the Mountain of Despair and tours the memorial as if moving through the struggle that Dr. King faced during his life. Visitors end in the open freedom of the plaza. The solitary Stone of Hope stands proudly in the plaza, where the civil rights leader gazes over the Tidal Basin toward the horizon, forever encouraging all citizens to strive for justice and equality.