The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial honors a man of conscience; the freedom movement of which he was a beacon; and his message of freedom, equality, justice and love. It is the first on the National Mall devoted, not to a United States President or war hero, but to a citizen-activist for civil rights and peace. On August 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of the groundbreaking March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, America witnessed the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. It is fitting that on this date, reminiscent of the defining moment in Dr. King's leadership in the Civil Rights movement, in the form of solid granite, his legacy is further cemented in the tapestry of the American experience.
Seventeen quotes from Dr. King reach out in permanence along the granite wall facing the Tidal Basin. From his earliest work in the Civil Rights Movement to the days of advancement in the 1960's, these words reflect the power of Dr. King's words to inspire, even to the modern day. The detachment of the Stone of Hope from the Mountain of Despair reflects not only victory borne from disappointment, but allows the visitor a clear view of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial which reflects the principles of freedom and liberty that gave birth to the nation. King's leadership in the drive to realize the freedoms and liberties laid down in the foundation of the United States of America for all of its citizens, without regard to race, color, or creed, is what introduced this young southern clergyman to the nation. The delivery of his message of love and tolerance, through the means of his powerful gift of speech and eloquent writings, inspires to this day, those who yearn for a gentler, kinder world. His inspiration broke the boundaries of intolerance and even national borders. He became a symbol, recognized worldwide, for the quest for civil rights of the citizens of the world.