Tafline Laylin

Hurricane Irene Puts a Damper on Highly Anticipated MLK Memorial Dedication in D.C.

by , 08/26/11
filed under: Architecture, News

hurricane irene, Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial, D.C., Bill McKibben, Keystone XL Pipeline, granite, national mall, first black man, green design, sustainable design, eco-design, China

The much-anticipated Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial dedication ceremony that was expected to draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to D.C. this Sunday has been cancelled due to Hurricane Irene. The very first memorial near the National Mall dedicated to a black man, the mammoth MLK statue would also be only the fourth to commemorate a non-President. Following the earthquake earlier this week, which cracked the Washington Memorial, 90mph winds are expected to wreak even further havoc on the capital, much to the disappointment of local business and residents who were preparing for the adoring throng of visitors that were expected to pay their respects to one of America’s most beloved icons.



hurricane irene, Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial, D.C., Bill McKibben, Keystone XL Pipeline, granite, national mall, first black man, green design, sustainable design, eco-design, China

Washington D.C. has had a rough week. First Bill McKibben and his posse of Keystone XL Pipeline protestors descended on the White House to put pressure on President Obama to reject a bill that would facilitate the easy transfer of billions of barrels of tar sands oil from Canada to Texas. Then an earthquake that measured 5.8 on the richter scale damaged several capital buildings.  And now, the MLK memorial, which has been 15 years in the making and will cost a total of $120 million, will not be formally dedicated until the fall.

Designed in keeping with an excerpt from his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in which King said “out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope,” the memorial is comprised of one 30 foot granite “stone” – out of which the stately King emerges with two granite “mountains of despair” behind him, a 450 foot wall on which many of his most famous quotes are inscribed, and nearly 200 cherry trees. It is located on 1964 Independence Avenue (which references the 1964 Civil Rights Act that MLK was largely responsible for). MLK weathered many storms. Let’s hope his largest memorial to date can handle this one.

Via Archinect

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1 Comment

  1. lazyreader August 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    I’m not sure what a memorial to a civil rights crusader has to do with environment, oh well. Equally I find it ironic the statue was erected using “white” marble. Also the fact that the statue was sculpted by Lei Yixin who had in the past Lei had sculpted a tribute statue to Mao Zedong, one of the most brutal people in history. Political campaigns led by Mao, such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, are often considered catastrophic failures, such as the severe starvation during the Great Chinese Famine, mass suicide as a result of various campaigns, and suppression of intellectuals and political persecution of minority groups and historical relics destroyed and religious sites were ransacked. A horrendous dictator comparable to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin with a death toll far exceeding both. Mao’s own personal secretary Li Rui stated further and claims he was dismissive of the suffering and death caused by his policies: “Mao’s way of thinking and governing was terrifying. He put no value on human life. The deaths of others meant nothing to him”.

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