mlk-memThe Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial honors the life and legacy of the prominent African-American civil rights figure, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968). The memorial is located on the banks of the Potomac Tidal Basin; it is just north of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson Memorials and southwest of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. The Lincoln Memorial was the site where Reverend King gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was dedicated on the 48th anniversary of that speech, on August 28, 2011.

In the 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, King said: “With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” This was chosen as the theme of the memorial, and King is shown as the symbol of hope emerging out of stone. Other quotes from King’s writings and speeches that reflect his ideals of justice, freedom, peace, and equality are inscribed around the memorial.

The sculpture was designed and created by Master Lei Yixin; it is sculpted from white granite that is only found in China.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial facts and figures:

  • The memorial is the first one on the National Mall that is dedicated to a civil rights figure, rather than a President or war hero.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963, on the steps of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial, made references to the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, and other historic speeches and writings.
  • Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, the year following his “I Have a Dream” speech.

To learn more, see the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial site.

To read King’s “I Have Dream” speech, see the National Archives site.