Ovation: Dedication Of MLK Memorial In Washington, DC Postponed Because Of Hurricane Irene.
Today marks the forty-eighth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic address from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. His seventeen-minute “I Have a Dream” speech was a defining moment of the Civil Rights Movement. His words remain powerful to this day.
Even before its grand opening was postponed by Hurricane Irene, a new thirty-foot-high statue of King overlooking the Tidal Basin midway between the Lincoln Memorial and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial was a controversial addition to the Washington, DC skyline. Many objected to the fact that the new memorial on the National Mall was designed by a Chinese artist, carved by Chinese workers out of Chinese granite and shipped here and reconstructed by Chinese workers. Critics think an American artist with American rock would be more appropriate. Others question the decision to use white granite to portray a black man.
The memorial’s defenders argue that the Chinese granite will withstand the test of time better than most other granite found closer to home. And the artist is a master sculptor known for huge stone tributes and is one of the few people on the planet skilled at working with such hard rock. Architects insist that white granite will show up better at night as a part of the city’s skyline.
The official dedication of the memorial, which had been planned for today, will be rescheduled at a later date. As many as 250,000 people were expected to attend the ceremony.
With its permanent place in history, visitors from around the world will forever be able to contemplate the spirit of the memorial — justice, democracy, hope and love.
UPDATE: 12/12/12 – Controversial quote to be removed from MLK Memorial.