Washington -- A national monument honoring
the legendary civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.,
the first monument on the National Mall honoring an African-American,
is scheduled for groundbreaking in November 2006, after a
lengthy push to raise the necessary funds.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights activist and Nobel laureate, delivers his "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington, August 28, 1963. A national monument honoring King, the first on the National Mall honoring an African-American, is scheduled for groundbreaking in November 2006. (©
The memorial will be constructed on four
acres near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Monument, in direct
sight of the Lincoln Memorial, where King delivered his
Have a Dream" speech on August 28, 1963, at the
on Washington, which drew a record crowd of 250,000.
King's speech inspired millions of Americans
to join the fight against racial injustice and support equality
for all Americans.
The speech remains one of the most moving
and influential in American history. He spoke of an America
where his children "will not be judged by the color
of their skin but by the content of their character."
His relentless efforts to encourage racial and economic
equality brought about significant changes in America. Since
his death in 1968, King's vision lives on through his speeches
and the successes achieved by his mission.
On June 29 the U.S. Senate approved $10
million to help fund the memorial. The money provided by
the Senate will enhance fund-raising efforts by the Martin
Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation,
which has already raised more than $40 million of the $100
"The legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. touches every American. It is only fitting
that the United States Government pay tribute to Dr. King
through this contribution to his memorial," said Senator
Robert Byrd, who supported the measure to fund the project.
The life and accomplishments of King will
be represented through the use of water, stone and trees
to symbolize the themes of justice, democracy and hope.
Electronic versions of King's speeches will be on display.
"The memorial will educate future generations about
the movement Dr. King represented and serve as a beacon
for the continued fight against sanctioned injustice and
inequality wherever it occurs," said Harry Johnson,
president of the King Foundation.
Members of Dr. King's college fraternity,
Alpha Phi Alpha, developed the idea for the memorial more
than 20 years ago, and more than 900 contributions from
52 countries were submitted for the memorial's design.
Washington File Staff Writer