Image: President Obama to Dedicate New MLK Memorial in DC
A visitor leans on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington on Saturday. President Barack Obama is to speak at the dedication of the memorial to the civil rights pioneer Sunday. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

President Obama to Dedicate New MLK Memorial in DC

Friday, 14 Oct 2011 01:04 PM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is to talk about the slain civil rights leader who gave his life serving others as he helps dedicate the new monument to Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall, joined by Aretha Franklin and poet Nikki Giovanni with thousands looking on Sunday.

The nation's first black president is one of several speakers expected for Sunday's delayed dedication of the 30-foot granite sculpture depicting the late Rev. King, the first monument on the mall in the nation's capital honoring a black leader. A late August dedication ceremony had to be postponed when Hurricane Irene blustered up the East Coast, dumping heavy rain around Washington.

Obama was just 6 years old when King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., in April 1968. But the president has often talked about the influence that King's life, particularly his commitment to public service, has had on him.

In a 2009 newspaper editorial written just days before his inauguration, Obama wrote that King "lived his life as a servant to others," and urged Americans to follow his example and find ways to enrich other people's lives in their communities.

Valerie Jarrett, a White House senior adviser and friend of the president, said recently that she expects the president's remarks "to come straight from the heart." A four-hour program was scheduled to include activities starting from about 8 a.m. Eastern time and including Obama's address before midday.

King's "willingness to sacrifice himself for our country, to fight for a dream he believed in, like justice and equality, really gave a foundation for President Obama becoming the president," Jarrett said.

Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia and Sasha toured the memorial Friday evening as journalists were kept back in vans on a service road leading to the site, situated near the Tidal Basin between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.

The sculpture of King, arms crossed, appears to emerge from a stone extracted from a mountain and was fashioned by Chinese artist Lei Yixin. The sculpture depicts King with a stern, enigmatic gaze, wearing a jacket and tie, his arms folded and clutching papers in his left hand.

The memorial's design was inspired by a line from the famous 1963 "Dream" speech delivered during the March on Washington in 1963: "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope." King's "Dream" speech during the March on Washington galvanized the civil rights movement.

The sculpture is the centerpiece of the $120 million memorial, which also includes a 450-foot-long granite wall inscribed with 14 quotations from King's speeches and writings. King is the first person who was not a U.S. president to be memorialized on the National Mall.

King's sister Christine King Farris was scheduled to speak during the Sunday morning dedication program, along with his son Martin Luther King III and daughter Bernice King. The choir from King's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta also was planning to sing.

Giovanni planned to read her poem "In the Spirit of Martin" and Franklin was to sing. A stage for speakers and thousands of folding chairs were set up on a field nearby along with large TV screens.

The dedication had originally been set for Aug. 28, the 48th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, when organizers initially had expected as many as 250,000 people in attendance. But organizers hastily postponed that plan, hours ahead of Hurricane Irene.

The hurricane that blew past Washington downed tree branches and knocked out traffic lights around the capital while playing havoc with travel plans along the East Coast. The memorial took on a small amount of water from the Tidal Basin during the storm, but sustained no damage, the National Park Service said.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Bernard Kerik: De Blasio, Sharpton 'Have Blood on Their Hands'

Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 18:49 PM

Bernard Kerik: De Blasio, Sharpton 'Have Blood on Their Hands'
By Todd Beamon
Former New York City Police Comm . . .

Instagram Posting May Be Linked to Police Killings

Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 18:09 PM

A posting to the social media site Instagram may be linked to the
tragic killings of two New York City police offic . . .

Police: 2 NYC Cops Shot Dead, Execution Style

Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 17:03 PM

An armed man walked up to two New York Police Department officers sitting inside a patrol car and opened fire Saturday a . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved