This monument on the edge of the Tidal Basin completed 2011 honors the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., just steps away from where he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most prominent leaders in civil rights history in the United States throughout the 1950s and 60s. Some of the highlights of his career include receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through nonviolent civil disobedience, and organizing the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 as part of the Voting Rights Movement.
Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in at the Lorraine Motel on April of 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee just one day after delivering his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech. The days following his assassination saw race riots across the United States and the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which included the Fair Housing Act. After his death he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal and has a federal holiday during the month of January named in his honor. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy lives on throughout the United States. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the bill creating a federal holiday to honor Dr. King, which is observed the third Monday every January close to his birthday. The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial located on the western edge of the Tidal Basin facing the Lincoln Memorial was opened to the public in late 2011. President Barack Obama was the keynote speaker at the dedication ceremony.
The 30-foot tall white stone sculpture depicts Dr. King emerging from the Stone of Hope and Mountain of Despair alluding to the powerful words from his “I Have a Dream” speech. The 450-foot long crescent wall alongside the monument features excerpts from his many speeches and quotes, which allows visitors to walk along the Tidal Basin and take in his words.
Join us on our Monuments and Memorials Segway Tour to learn more about the history of this monument and the legacy of Dr. King. If you are lucky enough to visit D.C. during Cherry Blossom season, don’t miss our Cherry Blossom Tour to see the Tidal Basin in bloom.
24 hours a day
Rangers on duty to answer questions from 9:30am to 10pm.
The Smithsonian (blue, silver, orange lines) is the closest metro stop and is a 20-minute walk away.
Save not only your feet but also heaps of time - hop on a bike or Segway tour with us!
Public Entrance Fees