Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is a monument in Washington D.C. dedicated to the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The memorial features a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. standing with his arms crossed, carved into a large block of granite. Inscriptions of quotes from King's speeches are also featured on the walls of the memorial.
This memorials unveiling was set for August 2011, that month was the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington led by Martin Luther King, Jr. However, the opening ceremony did nt happen on the oringinal intended date due to a freak 5.8 earthquake. Eventually the MLK Memorial was officially unveiled in October 2011.
Once at the entry plaza, stop and look south! There will be two enormous boulders ahead of you and another boulder looming off in the distance (before the edge of the Tidal Basin). The statuary component of the memorial is based on a line from King’s famous I Have a Dream speech, “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” The two boulders in the distance represent the Mountain of Despair and the third boulder pushed out very close to the Tidal Basin is the Stone of hope.
At this point move forward through the Mountain of Despair and you will see the famous quote “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope” carved on the west side of the statue’s base. Continue moving forward and turn and face the boulders and you will see the bas relief statue of Martin Luther King, Jr, embedded in the Stone of Hope. Follow the gaze of the statue out into the mist of the Tidal Basin.
The balance of the memorial is devoted to bringing to life MLK’s most famous quotes which appear on curving granite wall that flank the I Have a Dream statuary. Water features spring from the Mountain of Despair and the entire Memorial area on the bank of the Tidal Basin – no matter what time of year you visit - is deeply spiritual and contemplative.
The architect, Marshall Purnell, was former president of the American Institute of Architects.
The creator of the statuary is a prominent Chinese sculptor, Li Yixin. He was discovered by the King Memorial Project Foundation committee at a granite carving festival in Minnesota and later named head sculptor for the Stone of Hope statue at the MLK Memorial.
The award-winning parklike area around the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was created by landscape architect, Oehme van Sweden (OvS). This landscape reflects the newest ideas of green infrastructure using trees, plants and soil to welcome and protect visitors to the Memorial while also protecting the environment itself at the edge of the Tidal Basin from erosion and flooding.
There are restrooms adjacent to the MLK bookstore across the street. Both close in the evening.