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Monday, January 19, 2015

Visiting the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial

Today is the day the United States honors and celebrates the accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. in his commitment to civil rights and social change. Born in 1929, throughout his lifetime he was an advocate of non-violence. 

King's birthday is actually January 15, however, in the United States, the third Monday of January is the designated day to commemorate him. Many events have been taking place downtown this weekend to honor, remember his work and work towards a better future.

In August 2011 the newest memorial on the National Mall was opened and dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. The memorial sits on four acres and has various sections.

Visitors can enter/exit the site through the "mountain"
Throughout the memorial site you'll find numerous inspirational quotes by King said during his lifetime. The centerpiece of the memorial is the statue of King which overlooks the Tidal Basin. 


I took this photo of the MLK Memorial during the 2013 Cherry Blossom Festival.
The phrase you see here on the monument itself in the above photos, you'll no longer see. These words were removed in 2013 after controversy emerged due to the way it was paraphrased, with poet Maya Angelou saying it made King look "arrogant".  King's original words, spoken in 1968, were,
"If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter." (CNN)
Originally, the phrase was going to be replaced, but it was determined in order to keep the integrity of the memorial's structure intact, the phrase would be removed. The work was completed in the summer of 2013. This is how the memorial looks today:


Every year (and I couldn't find exact official stats), but an estimated one million people come to visit the site and remember the work of King. Anytime I visit, there is usually a crowd. 

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is located at 1964 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, D.C.

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