Week of events planned for unveiling of King memorial

The foundation building Washington’s new national memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is planning four days of events and an Aug. 28 dedication, which could be attended by as many as 250,000 people, the foundation announced Thursday.

The dedication is scheduled to take place on the 48th anniversary of the day King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, just northwest of the spot on the Tidal Basin where the new memorial is being erected.

The dedication will take place at 11 a.m. in West Potomac Park, near the site of the memorial, which is on Independence Avenue, southwest of the World War II Memorial. There will be musical tributes in the park before and after the dedication.

Among the week’s events, a public expo marking King’s legacy will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Aug. 25-28.

The $120 million memorial, 14 years in the making, features a 30-foot, 8-inch granite sculpture of King set amid the cherry trees on a four-acre site on the northwest shore of the basin.

The memorial will also have an inscription wall, water features, landscaping and a bookstore and visitors center.

Reserved tickets to the dedication will be distributed through an online lottery system, the foundation said.

People can request up to two tickets by visiting DedicateTheDream.org. Visitors must register by 11:59 p.m. on May 31 to be included in the lottery.

Ticket recipients for the seated and reserved standing areas will be notified by e-mail on June 15. Public standing areas that do not require tickets will also be available.

“We are thrilled that we will be dedicating the Memorial to Dr. King in the coming months, and the Foundation looks forward, with great pride, to presenting this Memorial — this dream — that we’ve worked to build, to the people,” Harry E. Johnson Sr., president and chief executive of the MLK Memorial Foundation, said in a statement.

“Dr. King, his life, his dream, and his legacy, will be a source of history and inspiration for all people, for all time,” he said. “I’m very much looking forward to celebrating this momentous event with my fellow Americans and people around the world who understand what this memorial stands for, and the relevance of Dr. King’s message.”

Johnson has said in the past that he expects that as many as 250,000 people could attend the dedication events.

Michael covers monuments, memorials, institutions; lore, ghosts, people of Capital, topics historical, martial, medical.
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