Today the Martin Luther King memorial opened to the public for a sneak peak before the official dedication this Sunday. Standing at 30 feet, a very serious and intensely focused Dr. King gazes out at the tidal basin. In his sights stand Thomas Jefferson across the water and behind him sacred American sites honoring Abraham Lincoln and the ever-monumental Washington. According to NPR’s Eyer Pedalta, “the memorial is the first on the National Mall that honors an African American and the first that honors a person who did not serve as president.”What strikes me most about the monument, aside from his ominous presence–the strange and lovely sight it is to see the carved stone face of a such a remarkable African American man in America–is simply the design of the monument itself. It’s modern. Dr. King rises up from stone. Like one of Michelangelo’s unfinished sculptures, he is not a free standing figure but emerging from Earth. Suspended in breaking ground. As if he’s about to speak. Around the statute are marble walls with quotes from the Reverend. Its inspiring. Its beautiful. And still a bit edgy. A stone’s throw from the Vietnam memorial stand the words, “I oppose the war in Vietnam because I love America. I speak out against it not in anger but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and above all with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as a moral example of the world.”President Obama is scheduled the officially dedicate and open the site this Sunday, the 48th anniversarry of Dr. King’s I have a Dream speech of 1963, which happened within site of the new memorial. If you’re in DC you should check it out, or you can watch it live on CNN.
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