Full Coverage: Unveiling the MLK Jr. Memorial

Memories of MLK

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The man

“Dr. King invited me to come
to Montgomery to meet with him.”

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- U.S. Rep. John Robert Lewis
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The man

“He was just ‘Daddy’ to us.”

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- Martin Luther King III
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The man

“I was a student of Dr. King’s.”

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- Julian Bond
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The march on washington

“This is too many people
for this nation to ignore.”

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- Frank Smith
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The march on washington

“When we sang
‘We Shall Overcome,’
we really believed it.”

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- Marian Wright Edelman
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The march on washington

“It was just sweltering that day, but it didn’t seem to matter.”

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- Faye Coleman
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The march on washington|Photo

“Praise the Lord. It’s done.”

Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy Jr.,
civil rights leader and
former member of Congress,
after an all-night vigil spent watching
workers replace a sabotaged
sound system before the march
The impact

“You can’t ignore us anymore.”

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- Juanita Abernathy
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The impact|Photo

“It was a revolutionary transition because of the adoption of nonviolence...
This, of course, was the great and important contribution of King, but not alone King. The first person to sit down on a bus was a woman.”

- D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton
on the civil rights movement
The impact

“The only choice you have is what you die for.”

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- Andrew Young
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The loss

“I remember
saying ‘Doc,’ and
the bullet hit him.”

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- Jesse Jackson
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The loss|Photo

“On the 4th of April, Walter Fauntroy and I were by the Old People’s drugstore at 14th and U
and we got the word that Dr. King had been assassinated, and Walter called down at Memphis
to find out if that was true.

We took about 20 minutes of crying and praying,
crying and praying, crying and praying. We saw the crowds gathering, we saw the molotov cocktails
being made and thrown into the stores.

We couldn’t stop them.”

- Marion Barry, D.C. council member and civil rights activist, remembering the riots after King’s assassination
The memorial|Photo

“Martin Luther King was to me the most inspiring public figure in America when I was growing up. He changed our country through his eloquence, through
his courage, through his
belief in nonviolence....
He was our generation's Gandhi,
our generation's Mandela.”

- Former president Bill Clinton,
who signed a 1996 congressional authorization that proposed the creation
of a Washington memorial to honor King
The memorial|Photo

“I’m happy with what
the people are going to see.
...It has been a labor
of love for all of us.”

- Harry E. Johnson Sr.,
chief executive of the foundation
building the memorial, has
helped raise $114 million
for the project
The memorial

“I had no idea that
I would be part of
making a monument
on the national mall.”

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- Ed Jackson
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The memorial

“We have to get involved.”

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- Tommy Hilfiger
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The memorial

“All of what [Dr. King] stood for is sort of
embodied in this
workforce.”

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- Nicholas Benson
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The memorial|Photo

“[King] has always dreamed that people
from all over the world will not be
judged by the color of their skin --
that we would all be brothers and
sisters and enjoy equal opportunity.
Now I have the luck
to get this opportunity.”

- Lei Yixin, sculptor of the memorial,
on King's legacy

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Photos: Nikki Kahn; Video: Megan Rossman; Video assistance: Evelio Contreras, Cristina Fletes; Design: Kat Downs

Interactive

Exploring the memorial

MLK Photosynth

See the memorial from dozens of angles in this interactive rendering of the monument.

Special report

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

MLK special report

Complete coverage of the unveiling of the monument to honor the civil rights leader in Washington.