In a ceremony first postponed by the chill of Hurricane Irene, tens of thousands of people from across the country finally gathered Sunday in near-perfect weather to dedicate the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
As President Obama said, “This is a day that would not be denied.”
Since King was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968, at the age of 39, reflecting on his legacy ultimately means summarizing how far we’ve come and figuring how much work there is yet to be done to accomplish equality. Whether it’s the President of the United States or a retired auto worker talking, these memorable quotes mirror that sentiment:
• “He was my little brother ... during my life, I watched a baby become a great hero.” — King’s older sister, Christine King Farris. She introduced herself as the person who knew King longer than anyone else now alive.
• “If it wasn’t for Dr. King, President Obama wouldn’t be here today. He opened up all these doors for us and everything, by getting beat up, riding the buses, marching, doing all those things like that.” — Emma Logan, 62, who traveled in a group from Atlanta to the ceremony.
• “I think he would smile and say that we got a long ways to go. ” — Jerline Johnson, 72, of Milwaukee, when asked what she thought King would’ve thought of the festivities.