The monumental memorial is located at the northwest corner of the Tidal Basin near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, on a sightline linking the Lincoln Memorial to the northwest and the Jefferson Memorial to the southeast. The memorial opened to the public on August 22, 2011, after more than two decades of planning, fund-raising and construction.
Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. King is often presented as a heroic leader in the history of modern American liberalism.
Delivering the “I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 Washington D.C. Civil Rights March.
A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. King’s efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. There, he expanded American values to include the vision of a color blind society, and established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history.
In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means. By the time of his death in 1968, he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and stopping the Vietnam War.
King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. His assassination led to a nationwide wave of race riots in Washington D.C., Chicago, Baltimore, Louisville, Kentucky, Kansas City, and dozens of other cities. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986, and was first observed in all states in 2000. Read More