by Erica Taylor, The Tom Joyner Morning Show
October 16, 2011 marked the historic dedication of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The event marked the first time a non-president and African-American leader was honored with a monument at the National Mall.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. He was jailed over 30 times and ultimately gave his life in the fight for jobs and freedom. By dedicating himself to the civil rights movement, he became responsible for the careers of countless black activists, including Ralph Abernathy, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and Andrew Young – all powerful leaders who carried on his legacy. Originally set for Aug. 28th, 2011, the event was postponed because of Hurricane Irene. The date would have been the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech. However, the rescheduled event was ironically coupled with the current Occupy Wall Street protests, which focuses on the rights of the poor – rights that Dr. King fought Million Man March in 1995.
The official address of the MLK Memorial is 1964 Independence Avenue, S.W., commemorating the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The memorial statue stands at 30 feet tall with granite walls, with 14 of Dr. King’s quotations etched in stone. The memorial became public on August 22, 2011 after more than 20 years of fund-raising. During the dedication ceremonies, President Barack Obama left a copy of his inaugural speech in a time capsule at the monument site. Other famous notables in attendance included Aretha Franklin, Nikki Giovanni, Dr. King’s children and over 30,000 believers in Dr. King’s dream.
This month, a quote that says “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” taken from the speech “Drum Major Instinct,” will be changed to reflect King’s entire statement, a much more modest message of how he wanted to be remembered.