AAA Editor Notes
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is on the Tidal Basin at W. Basin Dr. and Independence Ave. S.W., in West Potomac Park. Dedicated on the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the memorial preserves the memory of faith leader and advocate for social justice Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Its location between the Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson memorials accentuates the larger importance of King's life and work.
The focal point is Lei Yixin's inspiring sculpture of Dr. King. His imposing frame emerges from the Stone of Hope, which stands 28 feet, 6 inches tall; its position, facing the Tidal Basin, reinforces the advancement of opportunities King so tirelessly fought for. The memorial's entryway is through the Mountain of Despair, two massive stone walls that symbolize the struggles King faced in the pursuit of social equality and peace.
Inscriptions on the walls feature quotations from landmark speeches like "I Have a Dream" and emphasize Dr. King's four primary messages: justice, democracy, hope and love. The memorial's themes are never more evident than in the spring when Japanese cherry trees ringing the Tidal Basin are in full bloom, a symbol of renewal that underscores the tragedy of his assassination on Apr. 4, 1968.