Monday was the soft opening for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The 30-foot-tall memorial is the first in the Mall to honor an African American, as well as the first to honor a person who has not served as president of the United States.
The memorial, called “Stone of Hope”, stands across from the Thomas Jeffereson Memorial and next to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. The sculpture was designed by Chinese granite sculptor Lei Yixin. King’s head, upper body, and just he tops of his legs emerge from the massive stone, designed by Yixin so that the Civil Rights leader is a part of the stone, but breaking out of it.
According to the Washington Post, the sculpture’s name is pulled from a line in King’s “I Have a Dream” speech:
“With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
The memorial has been in the works since 1984, when a chapter of King’s fraternity presented the idea. President Clinton signed a congressional authorization for the memorial in 1996, and the groundbreaking finally took place in November 2006. The Post offers a complete timeline of the memorial’s creation.
The grand opening of the memorial will be this Sunday, August 28, timed for the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington, where King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.
The memorial has its own website, which includes a virtual tour of the memorial. The tour takes viewers through the area surrounding the sculpture, viewing it from various angles, approaching it and finally showing us a virtual model of the massive sculpture. This view alone is intriguing, and visitors to the actual site have been awed by the sheer size of the sculpture.Source:
The Two-Way (NPR News Blog)