While Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is remembered in history books across the country, his words are now etched in stone.
Forty-eight years ago, during the March on Washington, Dr. King first uttered the words that would change the course of history—“I Have a Dream”—while standing at the feet of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
in Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963.
This fall, Dr. King's visage and words returned to the National Mall as a 30-foot sculpture
, towering over the very spot where 250,000 people once gathered and peacefully rallied for civil justice and equality. The dedication ceremony for the memorial will take place this Sunday in Washington, D.C.
Dr. King is the first individual who was not a president to be honored with a memorial on the National Mall. Construction was approved by Congress nearly 15 years ago.
With his eyebrows sternly drawn together and his arms indicatively crossed over his chest, the granite replica of the late Dr. King is shown as holding the famous speech, rolled-up in one hand.
"Dr. King's vision is still living, in our minds; we still miss him, we still need him," said
the sculptor of the statue, Master Lei Yixin. "I am trying to present Dr. King as ready to step out ... this is King's spirit, to judge people from their character, not race, color or background."
The Baptist preacher's dedicated work towards equality and non-violence first earned him public recognition after he lead a boycott of segregated buses
in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955. A year later, the United States Supreme Court declared the segration laws regarding buses as unconstitutional.
At age 35, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
for his work advocacy for equality and civil disobendience in the United States.
The statue, along with a 450-foot wall inscribed with 14 quotes from Dr. King's numerous sermons, speeches and writings-- serves as a reminder of his greater vision of equality in the United States.
Leading the struggle for creating an inclusive society that embraces differences and denounces hate, Dr. King's legacy continues to inspire and promote change.
This landmark event shows us that it is once again time for reflection and putting into practice the basic human rights to equality for which Dr. King and others rallied on Aug. 28, 1963.
To help create a dialogue about hate and building tolerance in your community, we have gathered films, a study guide, and other Martin Luther King Jr. content that can be viewed and downloaded on the Not In Our Town website: