The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial will be officially dedicated in a ceremony today including remarks by President Obama and several of the late Dr. King's children.
The Memorial is the only one on the National Mall dedicated to a person who did not serve as U.S. president. According to the site's designers its location on the Tidal Basin “creates a visual line of leadership' from the Lincoln Memorial.
Speakers at today's event include Martin Luther King III, Bernice King, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Julian Bond, and Marian Wright Edelman.
The dedication was postponed from its original date of August 24 due to Hurricane Irene - that day was chosen because it was the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington where King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.
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.
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 with government, private, and corporate money.