Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his famous, “I Have a Dream,” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for the historic “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” It was a pivotal moment in American history during which Dr. King challenged America to live up to its founding principles. Dr. King spoke eloquently and passionately about the America he envisioned, stating at one point, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Dr. King’s contributions to America were honored two years ago today with the opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on August 28, 2011, located just northwest of the Lincoln Memorial.
The Lincoln Memorial is one of America’s most treasured sites and is managed by the National Park Service. Visitors can stand on the very step where Dr. King delivered his address and look out over the Reflection Pool, Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol Building in the distance. Inside the memorial is the 19-foot statue of President Lincoln and on opposing walls, right and left, are etched the words from two of his famous speeches: 1865 Inaugural Address and the Gettysburg Address. Dr. King referenced another of President Lincoln’s most powerful symbols of his leadership, the Emancipation Proclamation, during his speech, indelibly linking their actions and legacies forever. These two great men dramatically shaped American history, a hundred years apart, and helped pioneer civil rights for people around the globe.
For more information about the Lincoln Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and other historic units of the National Park Service found in the Washington, D.C. area, visit http://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm.
The NPPC offers some dates to remember:
August 28, 2013 – 5oth Anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech; Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
September 28, 2013 – Fee Free Day offered by the National Park Service and commemorating National Public Lands Day
October 27-29, 2013 – National Parks Hospitality Association annual meeting, Washington, D.C.
November 9-11, 2013 – Fee Free Day offered by the National Park Service, in honor of Veteran’s Day
August 25, 2016 – The Centennial of the National Park Service