Monday, January 15, 2018

Building the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial

SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE
By Megan Gambino
“People who knew Dr. King personally, all of them look at it [the memorial] and say, ‘That’s him,’” says Lisa Anders, senior project manager. (AP Photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
In early August 2011, as the finishing touches are being made to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., Deryl McKissack waits in a trailer on the premises. The concept for the memorial is actually rooted in a line from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech: “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.” The main entrance starts out wide and gradually funnels through a 12-foot wide opening in a “Mountain of Despair,” carved from sand-colored granite. Then, through the Mountain of Despair, closer to the Tidal Basin, is a 30-foot-tall “Stone of Hope,” made to appear as if it was pulled from the mountain. Lei Yixin’s sculpture of King emerges from the side of the stone facing the water.