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Washington, D.C.

3 Places in D.C. to Honor the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK JR washington DC Monument

"Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial, 'outside agitator' idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."


Taking a walk down Washington D.C.’s Mall is probably the most obvious place to start when seeking out a tour honoring the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Walk up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the location of the 17-minute “I Have a Dream” speech that took place on August 28, 1963. A plaque, 18 steps from the top, marks the spot where he spoke in front of a quarter-of-a-million people. It was dedicated in 2003. 

Next to the Mall, the “Stone of Hope” is located in West Potomac Park. The 30-foot-high statue of King is embedded in solid granite and 14 quotes from the civil rights leader are inscribed around it. The memorial is particularly special as it is one of only a few in or near that represent a non-president and the first national monument dedicated to an African-American man. Also of note, the height of the “Stone of Hope” exceeds the customary limit of 19.5’ for statues in Washington, DC. However, the figure of MLK is a likeness (similar to the presidential images on Mt. Rushmore), and thus not considered a statue.

National Museum of African American History and Culture opened September of 2016 and is still one of the most popular museums in Washington D.C. The ticketed museum is consistently sold out, so if you’re planning on visiting the city, you really need to plan ahead. Unfortunately the museum opened with no artifacts from King (the reasoning is discussed in this Washington Post article), but that doesn’t take away from the fascinating in-depth look the museum displays about the Civil Rights Movement. Of course, the Smithsonian displays plenty of MLK photographs and detailed accounts of King’s contributions. 

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