Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial: Honoring a Giant of a Man

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Congratulations to the descendants of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  What a great honor this  memorial placement on the National Mall is for your family and Black America.  I am so glad that I have lived to see two great things happen for Black people in my lifetime, a black president and a memorial recognizing a Black Man standing in between two presidents on the Mall.  I may never see this happen again, but I am blessed to witness it now.  RIP Dr. King!

By  Associated Press, Published: October 12

WASHINGTON — Forty-eight years after the “I Have a Dream” speech, a towering memorial has been erected to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a man of peace among the many monuments to wars and presidents in the nation’s capital. The road to this weekend’s dedication of King’s memorial, however, has run through hurdles of all kinds — not unlike the long struggle over King’s legacy itself.

Since King’s death, there have been financial worries at the King Center in Atlanta, and legal fights over the use of his image and words and over control of the civil rights organization he co-founded.

Many people wanted to help shape King’s bricks-and-mortar legacy as well, the first memorial for a black leader on the National Mall. There were skirmishes over who would sculpt King’s likeness, where the granite would come from and who would profit from the mammoth $120 million fundraising effort as the family demanded a licensing fee to support its Atlanta priorities.

Overall costs for the memorial rose over time, and the government demanded tougher security amid threats of domestic terrorism, dragging the project 15 years from the time Congress authorized it in 1996 and 27 years from when King’s fraternity first proposed it.Lesser hurdles have halted others who aspired to build monuments on the mall.“We have persevered,” said Harry Johnson, a 57-year-old Houston attorney and Alpha Phi Alpha brother who for the past 11 years led an effort that is to culminate Sunday with a ceremony featuring President Barack Obama.Originally set for Aug. 28, the 48th anniversary of the “Dream” speech, the dedication was postponed by organizers and the National Park Service due to Hurricane Irene. The memorial escaped damage from the storm and an earthquake that rattled the East Coast.The quake and storm posed one final set of challenges to memorial organizers who have faced many over the years.

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