Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Standing Legacy

Written by  //  March 18, 2013  //  FAMILY & LEISURE  // 


By Courtney D. Ward
Jan 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s essence has a permanent stamp in our nation’s capital. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial has finally made its mark in American history, and millions of people can visit to see its glory.

With years of preparation, donations, countless volunteers, and prayer, the memorial speaks volumes in terms of the magnitude and impact Dr. King has made on the United States and across the globe.

On October 16, 2011, the memorial was revealed to the world. The ceremony consisted of numerous distinguished guests such as President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Former President Bill Clinton, The King Family, Congressman John Lewis, and many others graced the ceremony. Singers such as The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, blessed the ceremony by singing “Precious Lord”, and Stevie Wonder sang “Visions” during the MLK Dedication Gala.

With thousands attending the ceremony, Dr. King’s older sister Christine King Farris, spoke humbly of the monument by saying, “I didn’t think my brother’s legacy could get much larger. But I was wrong, because here I am, overjoyed and humbled to see this great day when my brother Martin takes his symbolic place on the National Mall…you have insured that his legacy will provide a source of inspiration for people from all over the world for generations to come.”

Visit the memorial to capture the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy.


Interesting Facts & Historical Moments

Origin and Purpose

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. initiated the idea to have a monument built in honor of Dr. King, who was a member of the fraternity. In 1996, Congress passed a Joint Resolution, which authorized the fraternity to establish a Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • The memorial was designed and built to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Historical Facts

  • It is the first African-American sculpture honored with a memorial on or near the National Mall.
  • This is the fourth non-presidential monument in Washington, D.C.
  • The memorial is America’s 395th national park.


  • The memorial is located in West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C.
  • The memorial stands on a four-acre site along the Tidal Basin, in Washington, D.C., which is adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, and on a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.

Official Address

  • The official address of the monument, 1964 Independence Avenue, commemorates the year that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law.

“Stone of Hope”

  • Another name for the memorial is “Stone of Hope“, which stands past two pieces of what was once a single boulder symbolizing the ‘Mountain of Despair‘.
  • The centerpiece of the memorial is based on a line from Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech: “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope”.

Inscription Wall

  • There are 14 quotes from Dr. King’s speeches, sermons, and writings engraved on the 450-foot, crescent-shaped granite wall.

 The Sculptor

  • The 30-foot tall sculpture was carved by prominent Chinese Master sculptor, Lei Yixin. Yixin has created over 150 public monuments, and some of his work can be found in the China National Art Gallery. His first career was with a publishing company where he was a draughtsman (a person skilled in drawing).

Funds Raised

  • The Memorial Foundation has raised more than $114 million for the completion of the Memorial.

Opening Ceremony

  • President Barack Obama was one of the distinguished guests to deliver a message at the opening ceremony, October 16, 2011.






Mr. Steve Klein, Communications Representative with the King Center, provided Mrs. Christine King Farris’ quote.

Photo provided by J. Keith Aikens of Atlanta, GA.


Courtney_Ward-NewCourtney D. Ward
“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” -Maya AngelouAs an up and coming journalist, Courtney D. Ward is determined to be an accomplished writer. A native of Atlanta, GA, Courtney attended Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in News Editorial. In 2009, she received the Journalist of the Year Award at the Bethune-Cookman University Massey Awards Ceremony. She is currently a Feature Writer for Esteem Magazine.Visit her in “Twitter-land” @ writedayz. courtney.ward88@gmail.com

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