The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Officially Opens

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Our nation's capital is an exciting place to be this week. Why? The long awaited Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial officially opens to the public today, Monday, August 22, 2011.  
The 30-foot sculpture of the civil rights icon is situated on a four-acre Tidal Basin site, in a direct line with the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials. It's open today from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. leading up to a public dedication ceremony Sunday, August 28, at 11 am. (Note: Hurricane Irene pending arrival caused Memorial Dedication to be  postponed  to October 16, 2011.) Numerous special events are planned for Dedication Week—the days leading up to the official dedication ceremony. If you can, make sure you attend at least one of the events surrounding this historical occasion. Available website resources include:  About the MemorialBuild The Dream Virtual TourMemorial ProjectExplore the Memorial, Public Expo, In His Own Words, and Washington, D.C.  A friend and college classmate who visited the Memorial today, emailed

… I walked about 1.5 miles from the Farragut West Metro Station, past the Viet Nam, Lincoln, and Korean Memorials to the site. It is awesome and a stunning vision to behold. As I trudged along, I would not permit myself to be 'no ways tired', and remembered the umpteen parades I marched in as a majorette many moons ago and the many marches Dr. King led.

The chain-link fences are down; however, plants have yet to be placed. Many people were there representing all hues and colors; however, you could easily move around and view the entire site. Locals are encouraged to visit today through Thursday and allow those traveling to DC for the dedication full access on Sunday. I will watch the unveiling ceremony on television. It is a must-see memorial for sure…

The Significance!

  • Date:  August 28, 2011, the day that The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is officially dedicated is exactly forty-eight years after Dr. King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech.
  • Address: 1964 Independence Avenue is a reference to the Civil Right’s Act of 1964, a milestone that Dr. King played an integral role in achieving.
  • Location:  the site creates a visual "line of leadership" from the Lincoln Memorial to the Jefferson Memorial.
  • Monument: it is the first of its kind in honor of not only an African-American, but also a non-president on the National Mall.

Questions to Ponder!

  • What has happened since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. last addressed the nation 48 years ago?
  • What progress has been made in the last 48 years ago?
  • Are you a beneficiary of the civil rights movement?
  • Are you an individual who "Pays Dr. King's Gifts Forward"?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's Contributions/Gifts

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s contributions/gifts to a better world are immeasurable.  Briefly, he was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.  While his contributions to the civil right movement are numerous, some of  his best known include:

  • advancing civil rights in the United States and around the world using Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolence philosophy,
  • helping to establish the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and
  • leading the 1963 March on Washington where he delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech—which expanded American values to include a colorblind society and established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history.speech—which expanded American values to include a colorblind society and established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history.

In summation, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a philanthropist---one who uses their time, talent, and treasure for the common good. Honors And Awards that Dr. King received include: 1964 - the (youngest person to receive) Nobel Peace Prize for work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means; 1977 - the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded posthumously; 1986 US Federal Holiday established in his honor;  2004  the Congressional Gold Medal, awarded posthumously; and 2011 Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial—the first on the Mall honoring an African American. “His words, now carved in granite on the National Mall, are a testament to his legacy and its enduring ability to shape lives and destinies around the world.”

If time permits, please answer the questions below. Your responses will be shared with educators and authors. ( "Leave Your Reply" Below)

  • Can you name any individuals who "Pay Dr. King's gifts forward"?
  • Can you name any Children's book titles about individuals who “Pay Dr. King’s gifts forward”?



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Dr. Beverly E. Coleman says
Aug. 26, 2011, 8:02 a.m.
Obie Hutchinson says
Aug. 27, 2011, 1:22 a.m.

There is no substitute for books in the life of a child.

-- May Ellen Chase