Hundreds of people will turn out at the National Mall in Washington D.C. for the unveiling of the national memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This memorial is more than a quarter of a century in the making and has a 120 million dollars price tag.
This Dream Memorial honoring the slain civil and human rights leader will have its official grand opening and dedication on August 28th, which is also the 48th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. More than 500,000 people are expected to attend the grand opening and dedication including President Barack Obama who will address the crowd.
The 30 foot sculpture by Chinese artist Lei Yixin is the first memorial on the mall to recognize a person of color and is surrounded by memorials of presidents Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The artist received much of his inspiration for the sculpture design from Dr. King’s most famous speech “I Have a Dream” which he presented during the March on Washington in 1963. “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” and “I was a drum major for peace and righteousness” are inscribed on each side of the sculpture.
The entire memorial site consists of a 30 foot statue a 450-foot-long granite wall inscribed with 14 quotations from King’s speeches and writings and is surrounded by 182 Yoshino cherry trees that will blossom pink and white in the spring.
It’s designed to be a place for peace and reflection.
“We build this memorial because…when our nation was about to split in two – black versus white, rich versus poor – Dr. King said we should live together as brothers or perish as fools.” Harry E. Johnson, President & CEO, the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation.