Martin Luther King Jr. Stands Tall in DC

August 23, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015
STANDING TALL: The 'Stone of Hope' sculpture of Martin Luther King by Chinese artist Lei Yixin opened to public display on Aug. 22, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial is the first on the National Mall to honor an African-American and the first to honor a person who did not serve as president. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
STANDING TALL: The 'Stone of Hope' sculpture of Martin Luther King by Chinese artist Lei Yixin opened to public display on Aug. 22, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. The memorial is the first on the National Mall to honor an African-American and the first to honor a person who did not serve as president. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened to the public on Aug. 22, standing as a national monument in Washington, D.C., to King’s humanitarian vision.

The memorial aims to convey four themes of King’s life: democracy, justice, hope, and love, according to the MLK Memorial Foundation. The MLK ‘Stone of Hope’ was sculptured by Chinese artist Lei Yixin. Nearby, a 450-foot granite wall will feature more than a dozen of King’s quotes.

Situated between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, and adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, the legacy to King claims a space along the Tidal Basin at West Potomac Park in Washington.

The monument was approved by President Bill Clinton through a joint congressional resolution on July 16, 1998. A dedication ceremony for the monument will be held on Aug. 28 during the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

Harry E. Johnson Sr., president and CEO of the MLK Memorial Foundation said in a press release that the monument “will be a source of history and inspiration for all people, for all time.” The foundation raised more than $120 million to build and maintain the memorial through a “Build the Dream” campaign.

The memorial aims to “evoke the memory and spiritual presence of Dr. King. It will honor not only a great man, but the values that empowered his leadership, including courage and truth, unconditional love and forgiveness, justice and equality, reconciliation and peace,” according to the MLK Memorial Foundation’s website.

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