The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was originally supposed to open on Aug. 22, 2011. The date was moved to Oct. 16, 2011, due to damage from Hurricane Irene.
The MLK Memorial came about thanks in large part to the efforts of the fraternity that MLK belonged to, Alpha Phi Alpha.
The design of the memorial is the result of a very competitive bidding process. More than 900 applicants from 52 countries tried to win the design honor.
The address for the memorial is 1964 Independence Ave., referencing the 1964 Civil Rights act.
Nature is an important part of the memorial’s design. The cherry trees are positioned to bloom in a particular spot, so as to cause the effect of Martin Luther King Jr. gazing upon them.
The designers chose quotes on the walls of the memorial from speeches other than I have a Dream to help visitors appreciate the different speeches that Martin Luther King delivered during his lifetime.
The MLK Memorial falls directly in line with the Jefferson Memorial and Lincoln Memorial.
The site includes a large stone sculpture of Dr. King, inscription walls, two water features, an entry plaza, and raised garden areas.
The statue of King was sculpted by Lei Yixin, a Chinese artist, out of Chinese granite in China.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Surrounding the statue of Dr. King is a 450-foot-long Inscription Wall, which features 14 quotes from King’s speeches, sermons and writings.
Inscriptions were chosen by a special “Council of Historians,” which included Maya Angelou and Henry Louis Gates. The quotes were chosen with Dr. King’s four main principles in mind: justice, democracy, hope and love.