The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial will be the first on the National Mall to recognize a person of color and a man of peace, not a president or a veteran of war. In 1996 Congress authorized the Memorial Foundation to raise funds to establish a national memorial to honor the legacy of Dr. King on the National Mall. The memorial’s very existence signifies that we as a people believe Dr. King and his legacy deserve this esteemed placement in what can be considered America’s “Hall of Fame.”
We want to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by leading a collaborative funding, design, and construction process in the creation of a memorial to honor his national and international contributions to world peace through non-violent social change..
The vision of a memorial in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. is one that captures the essence of his message, a message in which he so eloquently affirms the commanding tenants of the American Dream — Freedom, Democracy and Opportunity for All; a noble quest that gained him the Nobel Peace Prize and one that continues to influence people and societies throughout the world. Upon reflection, we are reminded that Dr. King’s lifelong dedication to the idea of achieving human dignity through global relationships of well being has served to instill a broader and deeper sense of duty within each of us— a duty to be both responsible citizens and conscientious stewards of freedom and democracy.
Dr. King championed a movement that draws fully from the deep well of America’s potential for freedom, opportunity, and justice. His vision of America is captured in his message of hope and possibility for a future anchored in dignity, sensitivity, and mutual respect; a message that challenges each of us to recognize that America’s true strength lies in its diversity of talents. The vision of a memorial in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. is one that captures the essence of his message, a message in which he so eloquently affirms the commanding tenants of the American Dream — Freedom, Democracy and Opportunity for All; a noble quest that gained him the Nobel Peace Prize and one that continues to influence people and societies throughout the world. Upon reflection, we are reminded that Dr. King’s lifelong dedication to the idea of achieving human dignity through global relationships of well being has served to instill a broader and deeper sense of duty within each of us— a duty to be both responsible citizens and conscientious stewards of freedom and democracy.
Location: National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Landscape: Natural elements – water, stone, trees – are used to underscore the themes of justice, democracy and hope, and love.
Composition and Space: This memorial is not designed to be experienced in a single way with one single message, but rather it is to have a broad accessibility, appealing to all of the senses with diverse, repetitive and overlapping themes.
1. Why build a Memorial to Dr. King?
More than a monument to a great humanitarian, the National Memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be a place for visitors from all over the world to be energized by its extraordinary power; the power that illuminated the faith of our founders and now impels us toward our destiny as a nation; the power flowing from the uniquely American spirit of brotherly love, freedom, justice, and the priceless blessing they endure…peace.
2. Why build the Memorial now?
Dr. King once reminded the nation of “the fierce urgency of now” while warning against “the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.” The time is now a historical perspective. Many young people have heard of Dr. King, but are unaware of the significance of his contributions to America and the world. The design has been established; the site is secured; the fundraising teams are already at work; and more than $106 million of the campaign goal has been raised. The time is now.
3. What will the Memorial look like?
The Memorial is conceived as an engaging landscape experience to convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King’s life – democracy, justice, hope, and love. Natural elements such as the crescent-shaped-stone wall inscribed with excerpts of his sermons, and public addresses will serve as the living testaments of his vision of America. The centerpiece of the Memorial, the “Stone of Hope”, will feature a 30-foot likeness of Dr. King.
4. When will the Memorial be completed?
The Ceremonial Groundbreaking occurred on November 13, 2006. The Dedication of the Memorial is tentatively scheduled for the Fall of 2011.
5. How much will the Memorial cost?
It is estimated that the total cost of the project will be $120 million. Of that amount, more than $106 million has been raised.
6. What can I do to help?
Individuals as well as corporations can add their financial support to this effort. Contributions, large and small, are needed to attain our goal of $120 million. Spread the word to your friends, neighbors and acquaintances that their donations are urgently needed.Most major employers match employee donations, so if you donate to the Memorial Foundation your employer may double that amount.
Dr. Martin Luther King is remembered as a great orator whose impact on the nation came from the eloquence and inspirational quality of his words. His speeches, sermons and public addresses melded themes of democracy deeply embedded in the American conscience, and reinvigorated these messages with clear and insightful reflections on the true meaning of justice and equality.
Within the memorial, quotes from Dr. King’s sermons and speeches, arranged chronologically according to his life, are to be inscribed at a large scale on the glistening smooth surfaces of the water wall. These passages will be reinforced through the referential use of water, stone and light as metaphorical elements that heighten an awareness of his message.
Visit the A Memorial to a Hero Needs Your Support! website and while there, take a minute to download the MLK toolbar – For every search your perform using the toolbar $.05 will be donated to the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. You can also find out how to donate via text, or have your kids log on and enter the Kids for King Education Initiative. It’s easy to enter. Children can write an essay, create a piece of art, or produce a short video expressing what they have learned about Dr. King’s ideals of Democracy, Justice, Love and Hope as well as how they plan to carry the legacy forward.