With his arms crossed and his eyes on the prize, the giant likeness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began watching over Washington, D.C. in 2011. This recent addition to the city’s seemingly countless monuments, museums and government buildings is directly in sight of the Jefferson Memorial along the Tidal Basin.
The majestic likeness of Dr. King is carved out of a massive block of solid granite. According the National Park Service website the image of him emerging from the granite “reflects the steadfast resolve of an entire generation to achieve a fair and honest society.”
Words from his 1963, “I Have a Dream” speech inspired the design of the monument. The granite block bearing Dr. King’s likeness is called “The Stone of Hope.” Directly behind it you will find the “Mountain of Despair.” Both were phrases used in the famous speech given on a nearby spot on the National Mall.
Dr. King is forever looking forward, eyes looking over the water and toward the horizon. Master Lei Yixin sculpted this captivating work of art. When you stand beside it you feel the enormity of what Dr. King accomplished in his life a fitting tribute to a man who inspired those around him to stamp out injustice and change the course of history.
Like most of the attractions in Washington, D.C. visiting the monument is free. Its location might be a bit of “hike” from the center of the National Mall, but there are places to park nearby. However parking during peak times can be difficult, so you should plan on bringing your walking shoes, a bicycle or maybe a segway.
Dr. King is buried in his hometown of Atlanta just a few blocks from the home where he was born in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood. Much of the neighborhood is now part of a National Park and Historic District.