Thousands gather in D.C. for Martin Luther King Memorial dedication
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Thousands gather in D.C. for Martin Luther King Memorial dedication

West Pasco : WA : USA | Oct 16, 2011 at 8:15 AM PDT
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Martin Luther King Jr. memorial opens in DC

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. will honor Dr. King’s contribution in the enhancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world. The official dedication ceremony of Martin Luther King National Memorial in Washington, D.C. was scheduled in August, coinciding with the 48th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 but it was postponed till October 16 due to Hurricane Irene.

Sunday morning, thousands of people gathered at the National Mall in Washington D.C to celebrate the dedication of the national monument honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Aretha Franklin, poet Nikki Giovanni and U.S. President Barack Obama will be on attendance, honoring the legacy of the nation’s foremost civil rights leader.

Organizers of the dedication ceremony have anticipated that as many as 50,000 people will attend. More than 250,000 were expected to attend the earlier ceremony planned for August that was postponed because of Hurricane Irene. The dedication ceremony is scheduled to last around four hours during which Martin Luther King’s sister and two of his children are scheduled to speak. The choir from King’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta will sing.

Martin Luther King's older sister, Christine King Farris, said she witnessed a baby become "a great hero to humanity." She said the memorial will help the future generations to draw inspiration from her brother's legacy.

"He was my little brother, and I watched him grow and develop into a man who was destined for a special kind of greatness," she said. To young people in the crowd, she said King's message is that "Great dreams can come true and America is the place where you can make it happen."

Martin Luther King’s children, daughter Bernice King and son Martin Luther King the third, also spoke about the dedication ceremony. King said the nation has "lost its soul" when it has more people of color in prison than in college. He said the memorial should serve to renew his father's fight for social and economic justice.

"The problem is the American dream of 50 years ago ... has turned into a nightmare for millions of people" who have lost their jobs and homes, King said.

King's daughter said her family is proud to witness the memorial's dedication. She said it had been a priority for her mother, Coretta Scott King, who died in 2006.

ABC 7's coverage of the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial will start Sunday at 6 a.m. live from Washington.

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The new memorial to Martin Luther King Jr
The new memorial to Martin Luther King Jr
Michelle Lincaster is based in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America, and is a Reporter for Allvoices.
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