On Aug. 28, 2011, the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial officially took its place as America’s 395th national park – 48 years after King’s “I Have a Dream speech” delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
“Welcoming this memorial to the National Mall honors a heroic man and a critical chapter in our nation’s march toward a more perfect union,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “Martin Luther King, Jr., mobilized the power of faith and morality to break the chains of oppression that held our nation back.
The dedication ceremony was also to take place on Sunday, Aug. 28, but was postponed because of Hurricane Irene, which made its way up the eastern seaboard.
In 1996, Congress authorized Dr. King’s fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, to establish a memorial to the civil rights leader in Washington, DC. The group formed the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation and held a competition for the design. A site along the Tidal Basin of the National Mall was chosen for the memorial.
For more information about America’s newest national park, please see http://www.nps.gov/mlkm.