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Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, DC

Building a Memorial Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.


Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, DC
© Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, DC honors Dr. King’s national and international contributions and vision for all to enjoy a life of freedom, opportunity, and justice. Congress passed a Joint Resolution in 1996 authorizing the construction of the Memorial and a foundation was created to "Build the Dream", raising the estimated $120 million required for the project. One of the most prestigious sites remaining on the National Mall was selected for the memorial for Martin Luther King, Jr., adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. It is the first major memorial along the National Mall to be dedicated to an African-American, and to a non-president. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened to the public on August 22, 2011.

See Photos of the Martin Luther King Memorial

Location and Transportation

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is located on the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin at the intersection of West Basin Drive SW and Independence Avenue SW, Washington DC. Entrances to the Memorial site are located at Independence Avenue, SW, west of West Basin Drive; Independence Avenue, SW, at Daniel French Drive; Ohio Drive, SW, south of the Ericsson Statue; and Ohio Drive, SW, at West Basin Drive. Parking is extremely limited in the area, so the best way to get to the Memorial is by public transportation. The closest metro stations are Smithsonian and Foggy Bottom. (approximately a one-mile walk). See a guide to parking near the National Mall.

Design of the Martin Luther King Memorial

The Memorial conveys three themes that were central throughout Dr. King’s life – democracy, justice, and hope. The centerpiece of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is the “Stone of Hope”, a 30-foot statue of Dr. King, gazing into the horizon and concentrating on the future and hope for humanity. The sculpture was carved from 159 granite blocks that were assembled to appear as one singular piece. There is also a 450-foot inscription wall, made from granite panels, that is inscribed with 14 excerpts of King's sermons and public addresses to serve as living testaments of his vision of America. Landscape elements of the Memorial include American Elm trees, Yoshino Cherry Trees, Liriope plants, English yew, jasmine and sumac.

Bookstore and Ranger Station

At the entrance to the Memorial, a bookstore and National Park Service ranger station includes a gift shop, audio visual displays, touch-screen kiosks and more.

Memorial Website: www.nps.gov/mlkm

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