On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. led a crowd of 200,000 in a march on Washington, a march for freedom and for jobs. It has been almost 50 years since Dr. King stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Now he has his own memorial located at 1964 Pennsylvania Ave. The street number reflects the year the Civil Rights Act was signed.
"Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope", a line from Dr. King's speech, served as the inspiration for the memorial's design. The mountain of despair is two large pieces of granite. The stone of hope is a third piece of granite which has broken away from the other two pieces. Sculpted into the stone of hope is the 30-foot form of Martin Luther King Jr., his arms crossed, his look stern, fighting injustice as he did every day. Dr. King is gazing across the Tidal Basin at the Jefferson Memorial, also a proponent of equality.
Along with the stones is a giant wall inscribed with 14 excerpts from Dr. King's sermons. Here are three:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.
It is a fitting tribute to an American hero. Rest in peace, Dr. King!
Note: For more information on the "I Have a Dream" Speech see my blog post dated August 28, 2011.