U.S. President Barack Obama will dedicate the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, which opened to the public in August in Washington, DC on October 16.
Designed by Roma Design Group, the memorial occupies a four-acre site on the Tidal Basin on axis with the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.
The design strengthens the relationship between the King, Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials and the evolving message of democracy, from the Declaration of Independence to the Gettysburg Address to Dr. King’s Civil Rights Speech delivered on the steps of the nearby Lincoln Memorial in 1963.
Visitors enter the memorial through the “Mountain of Despair” and approach the “Stone of Hope” upon which the figure of Dr. King appears adjacent to the Tidal Basin, calling forth imagery from the “I have a dream” speech – “out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”
The memorial is intended to express Dr. King’s message of human rights and civil liberty and his legacy in broadening the meaning of democracy in America.
It is designed in the environmental tradition of the Vietnam War and the FDR Memorials, and utilizes natural elements, rather than a single monument or commemorative building, to evoke the kind of emotional response that Dr. King conveyed in his poetic use of language and reference to the American landscape.