In a remarkably suitable coda to a week of political upheaval, during which “we the people of the United States” clearly proclaimed our desire for peace, thousands of people gathered on the National Mall to break ground for a new memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. This new monument will have a stunning location on the Tidal Basin, between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, and close to the FDR Memorial. Nearby are the solemn memorials to the veterans of World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Dr. King is the first Black American to be honored in this hallowed space reserved for America’s greatest heroes.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial
will stand as a permanent reminder of Dr. King’s vision for brotherhood, justice and peace for all people. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment to nonviolence in the quest for racial justice. In his Nobel acceptance speech, Dr. King proclaimed his unrelenting hope for a new world: “I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history…I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.”
This nation is far from the achievement of Dr. King’s dream for equal justice, an end to racism, the embrace of peace. This new memorial will remind succeeding generations that freedom cannot be taken for granted, that justice and peace require daily vigilance.
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See Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize Lecture
See The King Center
See the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University
See New York Times