Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial DedicationWashington, D.C. (October 11, 2011) - The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will be dedicated this Sunday, October 16, in a ceremony hosted by the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation in West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. The dedication activities will begin with an 8 a.m. hour-long “Morning Joy” program, emceed by Roland Martin. The Dedication program, emceed by PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill, will begin at 9 a.m. and pay tribute to Dr. King with the words of noted speakers including civil rights leaders and King family members, as well as musicians and poets. President Barack Obama will deliver the dedication address.
Dedication Free and Open to Public, No Tickets Required
Civil rights leaders including Julian Bond, Reverend Joseph Lowery, Congressman John Lewis, Marian Wright Edelman, Ambassador Andrew Young, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Lee A. Saunders, and Reverend Al Sharpton are scheduled to speak as well as members of the King Family and Dan Rather, who covered the civil rights movement early in his career. Musical and spoken tributes will be delivered by poet Nikki Giovanni, Mary Mary, Miri Ben-Ari and PoemCees, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Jennifer Holliday. The Dedication Choir is a specially selected group of 75 vocalists from across the Washington metropolitan area and directed by Reverend Nolan Williams, Jr.
At 11 a.m., a ceremonial dedication will take place in the forecourt of the Memorial, and this portion of the program will be broadcast on jumbotrons in West Potomac Park. Herman “Skip” Mason, general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Aretha Franklin, Harry Johnson, president and CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Foundation, and President Barack Obama will participate. Special guests include Vice President Joe Biden, United States Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and more.
“Sunday’s Dedication will be a wonderful way to celebrate the life, the dream, and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as democracy, hope, justice, and love – ecumenical tenants for which Dr. King so bravely stood, and upon which the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was built,” said Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president and CEO of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. “Although our plans have been scaled back, I am confident Sunday’s event will be momentous for all who join us in West Potomac Park and those who tune in from across the country and around the world to witness this long-awaited moment in our nation’s history.”
The West Potomac Park ceremony is free and open to the public. No tickets are required, and the public is encouraged to bring their own picnic blankets and chairs. Gates will open at 6 a.m. and the public may access West Potomac Park via four gates on Independence Avenue, SW. The National Park Service officially welcomed the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial as America’s 395th national park on Aug. 28, 2011, the originally scheduled Dedication date and the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.
A complete list of Dedication Program participants follows. Visit www.DedicatetheDream.org for the most up-to-date information about the Dedication. The General Motors Foundation and Chevrolet will serve as Dedication Chair and Dedication Co-Chair is The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation. Dedication Vice Chairs include Aetna, Boeing, BP, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, GE, MacFarlane Partners, McDonald’s, Salamander Hotels, Travelers, Wal-Mart Stores, and Zoilëmax Foundation.
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