National News

MLK monument moving for Triangle visitors

Posted October 16, 2011
Updated October 17, 2011

— Triangle residents young and old were among the thousands of people who gathered Sunday on the National Mall for the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

As the civil rights leader took his place alongside Founding Fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, veteran Paul Hocutt of Raleigh felt vindicated.

Raleigh group attends MLK memorial dedication Raleigh group attends MLK memorial dedication

"This is what I live for. This is what I had worked for," he said. "This is what I went to war for. I went to war for this right here."

The Raleigh Martin Luther King Committee organized the visit for dozens from the Triangle to join dignitaries from the civil rights movement, modern politics and the arts, including President Barack Obama.

"I know we will overcome," Obama proclaimed, standing beneath the 30-foot granite monument. "I know this," the president said, "because of the man towering over us."

The memorial is the first to a black man on the National Mall and its parks.

The dedication has special meaning for the Obamas, and the first couple and daughters Malia and Sasha made a more private visit to the site on Friday night, before the crowds and the cameras arrived. Obama credits King with paving his way to the White House. Before his remarks, the president left a copy of an inaugural speech in a time capsule at the monument site.

Glenda Thomas, of Raleigh, was on hand with memories and hopes for the future.

"I'm a child of the 60s and 70s," she said. "I saw what went on. I saw the dogs. I saw what happened. It wasn't a pleasant sight, but they achieved our right to vote, our right to go where we wanted to go."

Thomas and Bernard Dunn, of Tarboro, agreed that those who remember the civil rights fight must now pass it down to a new generation. 

"The thing we have to do is to let them know how important it was to maintain the old school values," Dunn said.

Obama urged those present to harness the energy of the civil rights movement for today's challenges and to remain committed to King's philosophy of peaceful resistance. MLK monument Web only: MLK memorial dedication

In his talk, he referred protests against the wealthy and powerful that have spread from Wall Street and Washington to Raleigh and across the country. Obama said, "King would want us to challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing those who work there.

"Let us draw strength from those earlier struggles. Change has never been simple or without controversy."

Sunday's dedication had been rescheduled from late August. The memorial was complete then, but the wind and rain of Hurricane Irene forced organizers to postpone the event.

About 1.5 million people are estimated to have visited the 30-foot-tall statue of King and the granite walls where 14 of his quotations are carved in stone.

The sculpture of King with his arms crossed appears to emerge from a stone extracted from a mountain. It was carved by Chinese artist Lei Yixin. The design was inspired by a line from the famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963: "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope."

King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, said her family is proud to witness the memorial's dedication. She said it was a long time coming and had been a priority for her mother, Coretta Scott King, who died in 2006.

Bernice King and her brother Martin Luther King III said their father's dream is not yet realized.

He said the memorial should serve as a catalyst to renew his father's fight for social and economic justice.

34 Comments

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  • fishon Oct 18, 3:18 p.m.

    wonder how many of you complainers enjoy the day off work in observance of his holiday in january? if your company is closed,

    Not complaining and my company does not observe MLK day. We take off Good Friday instead.

  • slappywhite Oct 17, 5:39 p.m.

    who is this person? never heard of him......

  • chuck1947 Oct 17, 3:48 p.m.

    A known womanizer, communist and plagerizer. Check the writings of Marcus Garvey and W. Duboise to find where his "inspired" speaches came from. Honor him if he is the best you've got.

  • fayncmike Oct 17, 2:21 p.m.

    "But the diabolical action from Ray does not take away the fact that MLK was very unpopular in many aspects and whose beliefs and principles were not supported by many Americans either past or present.
    Tarheelfan13"

    Yes, Dr. King was indeed very unpopular with a certain group of people. That group were the hoards of filthy bigots that than and still now regarded Blacks as subhuman beasts. Make no mistake, those bigots are just a prevalent now as in the past. The only difference is they're too cowardly to be open about it.

  • too-obvious Oct 17, 2:19 p.m.

    more to the power....amen

  • wakemom Oct 17, 12:52 p.m.

    don't celebrate MLK day and just as my premise on the monument is that he does not deserve a holiday. It is mind boggling when Lincoln and Washington who were both literally a thousand times more important to this country have to combine their holiday to make room for MLK to have his own holiday.
    Tarheelfan13

    you didnt answer the question? do you still go to work?? or do you even work???

  • lazyrebel Oct 17, 12:49 p.m.

    I personally think that this was a waste of money. I see that there was no mention of what Jacqueline Kennedy had to say about the man. I am really tired that we have to hear about him all the time. If everybody wanted to be equal, quit complaining, go to work and act like everyone else. I am so tired of BET, the Black Miss USA etc etc. When will it end? I guess next we will have to have a monument to Santa Anna because all he was really trying to do was to give Mexican-Americans there rights? Pleassssseeeee!

  • funlovman Oct 17, 12:36 p.m.

    tarheelfan13,

    Are you complaining because now you have to share drink fountains and bathrooms? It sure sounds so.Your posts show that you are hateful.

  • issymayake Oct 17, 12:25 p.m.

    sumpinlikedat,

    Well said. You can't sweep history under the rug, no matter how embarrassing it is.

    It's amazing how MLK is a conservative and a socialist at the same time, according to some posters.

    To my fraternity brothers who have worked on this vision for nearly sixteen years, your dedication is to be commended.

    First of all, Servants of all, We shall transcend all.

  • Tarheelfan13 Oct 17, 12:21 p.m.

    DredScott stated: "Especially James Earl Ray who assassinated him."

    No one is condoning the actions of James Earl Ray and I am of the belief that he deserved capital punishment from the state just as any first degree murderer does. But the diabolical action from Ray does not take away the fact that MLK was very unpopular in many aspects and whose beliefs and principles were not supported by many Americans either past or present.

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