Friday, Oct 30, 2009
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and President Harry E. Johnson, Jr., of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation yesterday signed a permit allowing construction of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall to begin.
In a press conference overlooking the Tidal Basin in the footprint of the spot where the newest memorial is to be built, members of the Black and Hispanic Congressional Caucuses, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Christine King Ferris, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s youngest sister, witnessed the biggest step before actual construction begins. The memorial will be constructed in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, on the north side of the Tidal Basin.
“Dr. King is one of America’s greatest heroes, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who inspired America to live up to the meaning of its creed of freedom, justice and opportunity for all people,” said Secretary Salazar. “It is fitting and appropriate that we honor Dr. King’s extraordinary life and legacy with a memorial here on the National Mall, alongside the timeless landmarks of American democracy and freedom. May this sacred ground help us draw strength from Dr. King’s courage, dedication and sacrifice, and inspire us to always seek a more perfect union.”
“I am excited to move forward with construction and share that we are in the home stretch of the fundraising campaign to build this national memorial to Dr. King,” added Harry E. Johnson, Sr., of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation.
In 1996, Congress authorized the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a memorial honoring Dr. King to be built in Washington, D.C. The design of the four-acre memorial includes the use of water, stone and trees to symbolize Dr. King’s call to America for justice, opportunity and hope for all people. The memorial is expected to be completed in late 2011.