A Day of Reflection, A Legacy Commemorated
On October 16, 2011, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial - the first national monument constructed in honor of a person of color - was offically dedicated in a special ceremony. President Barack Obama, NAACP President & CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock and NAACP Chairman Emeritus Julian Bond were among the notables who joined the thousands of civil rights activists from across the country for the monumental occasion.
From Dr. King's sister Christine and children Bernice and Martin III, to friends and fellow Civil Rights Movement activists Chairman Bond, Congressman John Lewis and Former UN Ambassador & Mayor of Atlanta Andrew Young, speakers flooded those in attendance with their memories and anecdotes on King's life and the impact his lasting legacy continues to have on our nation. Reknowned poet Nikki Giovanni recited a piece reflecting on King's legacy, while legendary musicians Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin were just two of several musical artists who performed at the Dedication.
President Obama also gave remarks during the dedication. Said Obama:
"As tough as times may be, I know we will overcome. I know there are better days ahead. I know this because of the man towering over us. I know this because all he and his generation endured -- we are here today in a country that dedicated a monument to that legacy.
And so with our eyes on the horizon and our faith squarely placed in one another, let us keep striving; let us keep struggling; let us keep climbing toward that promised land of a nation and a world that is more fair, and more just, and more equal for every single child of God."
View photos from the MLK National Memorial Dedication.
NAACP National Field Director Stefanie Brown and NAACP activist Mildred Roxborough sat down with BET News to reflect on the significance of the dedication. View their thoughts in the videos below: