at the dedication of a memorial of rev. dr. martin luther king, jr, president barack obama said, "an earthquake & hurricane may have delayed this day, but it was a day not to be denied." the memorial returned dr. king to the national mall - a symbol of the change he once galvanized - at a ceremony attended by thousands.
crowds began at dawn to crowd onto the memorial site, just southeast of the steps where king delivered his historic "i have a dream" speech. designed as what king described as a stone of hope hewn from a mountain of despair, the memorial is the first to a black man on the national mall & its parks, & the first monument to a non-president on the mall.
president obama said, "in this place he will stand for all time among monuments of those who fathered this nation & those who defended it...a black preacher, no official rank or title, who somehow gave voice to our deepest dreams & our most lasting ideas - a man who stirred our conscience & thereby helped make our union more perfect."
obama also said the monument was not for the assassinated leader alone: "the movement of which he was a part depended on an entire generation of leaders. many are here today, & for their service & sacrifice we owe them our everlasting gratitude. this is a monument to your collective achievement."
the president went on to state, "some giants of the civil rights movement like rosa parks & dorothy height, benjamin hooks, rev. fred shuttlesworth, they've been taken from us these past few years. this monument attests to their strength & courage, & while we miss them dearly, we know they rest in a better place."
"finally," obama remarked, "there are the multitudes of men & women whose names never appear in the history books. those who marched & those who sang, those who sat in & those who stood firm. those who organized & those who mobilized - all those men & women who through countless acts of quiet heroism helped bring about changes few thought were even possible."
in conclusion, said obama, "faceless, anonymous, relentless young people, black & white, who have taken our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the constitution & the declaration of independence. to those men & women, those foot soldiers for justice, know that this monument is yours as well."
president obama was just six years old when dr. king was tragically gunned down on the balcony of the lorraine motel in memphis, tennessee. he credits dr. king with helping him pave the way to the white house as america's first black commander-in-chief. aretha franklin, stevie wonder & poet nikki giovanni were among those who honored the legacy of the nation's foremost civil rights leader. organizers anticipated over 50,000 people would attend.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.