MLK Memorial officials announced today that Sunday's formal dedication ceremony has been postponed due to the approach of Hurricane Irene. It will be rescheduled for a date "yet to be determined" in September or October.
Continuing a week of celebrations for the Memorial, a luncheon held today celebrates other leaders of the civil rights movement. Guests included Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Justice Department Secretary Eric Holder.
The Memorial opened on the National Mall Monday, and it is the only one dedicated to a person who did not serve as U.S. president.
Sunday was chosen for the dedication as it is the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington where King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. President Obama was to speak at the dedication ceremony, where organizers were expecting up to 300,000 attendees.
The Memorial has been in the works for more than 15 years. Congress passed legislation authorizing it in 1996, and after a lengthy deliberation, its location was finally agreed upon to be placed on the National Mall in 1999.
Its location on the Tidal Basin “creates a visual line of leadership' from the Lincoln Memorial, which honors the President who protected the United States from internal strife, and where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous 'I Have a Dream' speech.”
The memorial includes large parted boulders meant to symbolize the struggle for civil rights. One of the boulders include one of Dr. King's quotes about hope: "Out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope."
Another boulder is placed in the center of the memorial with a statue of King carved into it. His “I have a dream” speech will not be found anywhere at the memorial because it is his most known and most taught. Memorial creators wanted to highlight the depth of his words and teachings.
It was built mostly with private and corporate donations.