The official dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, which was postponed because of Hurricane Irene last month, will be held on October 16, Harry Johnson Sr., head of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation, said Saturday.
The date was set in consultation with the White House as President Barack Obama is expected to speak at the ceremony.
The dedication of the $120 million memorial was to coincide with the 48th anniversary of the historic March on Washington and King’s famed “I Have A Dream” speech on August 28. But while many of the weekend events went ahead, the centerpiece dedication was postponed as the East Coast hunkered down for the battering winds and rains of Hurricane Irene.
The memorial site, which features a striking 30-foot statue of King gazing out on the iconic Tidal Basin, lies between the Lincoln Memorial and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial on the National Mall. The statue, representing a “Stone of Hope,” sits forward from a “Mountain of Despair.”
Visitors pass through the mountain on their way to King’s statue and an expanse along the Basin rimmed with an inscription wall covered with stone carvings of some of his most famous quotes. The four-acre area will also feature the iconic cherry blossom trees that draw thousands of tourists to the Mall each spring.