Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two sided color brochure that Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the Memorial and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 25 minutes which we have divided into twelve sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections one through five cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding Dr. King's life and impact. Sections six through twelve cover the back of the brochure and consist of two maps, as well as information on the Memorial creation and design. There is also further information on accessibility.

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OVERVIEW: Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, in Washington, DC, is overseen by National Mall and Memorial Parks, a unit of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The Memorial, dedicated in 2011, is the only major memorial on the National Mall which does not honor either a President or the military. Every year, millions from around the world visit the Memorial. We invite you to enjoy the shade of the cherry trees, listen to the waterfalls beside the Mountain of Despair, and contemplate the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. reflected throughout the site. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.
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OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure.

The front of the brochure includes a quote, five black and white photographs, a photograph of Dr. King’s signature, and a photograph of the memorial scuplture. The front is divided into three sections. Descriptions and text are presented under their own sections. The text explains a brief life history of Dr. King and his role in the U.S. Civil Rights movement, including his co-founding of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

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IMAGES, QUOTE, and TEXT: Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

IMAGE 1 of 2: Sculpture

DESCRIBING: A medium, cut-out photograph of the upper portion of a sculpture.

DESCRIPTION:

A cutout showing the torso of the massive white granite sculpture of Dr. King that is the centerpiece of the memorial. He appears to be emerging from the raw block of stone from which it is carved. The angle of the photograph makes us look up into his face, which is in full focus. As our eyes travel downward, his chest gradually fades toward the bottom of the section to blend into the background of the brochure. The sculpture is shown from a three quarter perspective from the right. We see an African American male’s head with cropped hair. A wide nose sits above a trimmed mustache and full lips. A serious expression is on his face, eyes staring intently into the distance. The lapel of a suit jacket projects above his right hand, which is resting on his left elbow, arm across his chest. We can see the prominent veins of his right hand.

CREDIT: NPS Photos

IMAGE 2 of 2: King's signature

DESCRIBING: A small, cut-out graphic.

DESCRIPTION:

A photo of Martin Luther King Jr.’s signature appears beneath one of his quotes, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It is written in black ink in neat cursive, slanted to the right with tall capital letters. The letters T and H are prominent. The bottom of the lowercase G in “King” contains a flourish.


QUOTE:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” – Martin Luther King Jr. 

RELATED TEXT:

This memorial preserves the memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968): visionary, faith leader and public intellectual, unwavering advocate of social justice, and martyr to peace, equality, and justice. As he traveled the “torturous road” toward racial equality during the 1950s and 1960s, Dr. King sought to maintain an “abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind.” Although most widely known for his leading role in the African-American civil rights movement in the United States, Dr. King was also a tireless advocate for the nation’s working class and the oppressed around the world.

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IMAGE and TEXT: The fierce urgency of now

DESCRIBING: A small, horizontal photograph in black and white. 

CAPTION: Dr. King with wife and children.

DESCRIPTION:

This is a black and white photograph of an African American family – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his wife Coretta Scott, and their young son and daughter. Dr. King is in the center of the picture, holding his son on his right hip, with his right cheek pressed to the youngster’s left cheek. The boy is dressed in a light colored suit jacket and his hair is closely cropped. His back is to the camera but his head is twisted over his right shoulder, looking to the left of the picture. His face is round, chubby cheeked, and adorably confused. Dr. King holds his son’s right hand in his left one, and supports him with his right arm. Dr. King’s hair is cropped short. His wide, flat nose sits above a neat, pencil mustache. His eyes are hooded as he smiles tenderly at the child in his arms. He is wearing a dark suit jacket over a white button down shirt and thin dark tie. To Dr. King’s left is his wife, Coretta Scott. She is leaning over and pressing a kiss to her husband’s left cheek. Her face is mostly obscured by her shoulder length, curly dark hair. She is wearing a dark dress. Next to Coretta, at the bottom right hand corner of the photograph, is their daughter. Only her face is visible. She is in profile, looking up at her parents. Her mouth is open under her button nose. Her dark hair is neatly braided high on her head and tied with light colored bows.


CREDIT: UPI Photo / Library of Congress

RELATED TEXT:

Dr. King’s sense of urgency was made famous in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1963), in which he took exception to eight fellow clergymen who suggested that African Americans wait patiently for civil rights. Yet his vigorous inclination to decisive action preceded his involvement with the movement for civil rights and world peace. Coming from a family of readers, he made an impression as an exceptionally gifted young man, which accelerated his graduation from high school by the age of 15. Descending from an ancestral line of Baptist ministers, his formative years were spent surrounded by various communities of faith and service. By 1955, at the age of 26, he himself was an ordained Baptist minister, had earned his bachelor of arts, bachelor of divinity, doctorate of philosophy, and started a family. In 1957, the newly-formed Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) dedicated to racial equality and economic justice, and co-founded by Dr. King, elected him as their president. He asked of those in the movement: “Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?” “Are you able to endure the ordeals of jail?” He proved unafraid of reinforcing his words in leading by example. He organized sit-ins, kneel-ins, mass meetings, and boycotts in the face of stern opposition. Images of the violence faced by Dr. King and those allied to the cause spread across the nation, introducing him to a public embroiled in the bitter process of desegregation. Advocates and denouncers alike came to know him through his powerfully rendered speeches and writings, in which he called for those seeking equality to “protest courageously and yet with dignity and love."

Footnote: The section title comes from "I Have a Dream," 8/28/1963

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IMAGES and TEXT: An amazing universalism

DESCRIBING: A group of small, horizontal photographs in black and white.

IMAGE 1 of 4: Dr. King and the Nobel Peace Prize

CAPTION: Dr. King accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, 12/10/1964.

DESCRIPTION:

A rectangular-shaped black and white photograph taken in Stockholm, Sweden on December 10, 1964, the day that Dr. King accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. Viewed from the waist up, Dr. King and his wife Coretta Scott are front and center, facing forward, and smiling broadly at the two white men with whom they are speaking. From behind, we can see that one of the men is older and balding. Dr. King is wearing a dark, notch lapelled formal suit jacket over a white shirt and striped cravat. In his left hand he holds a sheaf of papers. To his right stands his wife. She is wearing a light colored dress, a strand of pearls, and a round, turban like hat. Behind the Kings is a crowd of people watching the proceedings. This group is predominantly white and wearing dark suits.

CREDIT: UPI Photo / Library of Congress


IMAGE 2 of 4: President Johnson and the Civil Rights Act

CAPTION: President Lyndon Baines Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act, 7/2/1964.

DESCRIPTION:

A slightly pixelated black and white group photograph. Front and center, seated at a shiny wooden desk behind two microphones, is President Lyndon Baines Johnson. He is an older Caucasian male. His gray hair is combed back and large glasses are perched on his sharp nose. He is wearing a dark suit over a white shirt and dark tie. He is holding a pen in his hand -- about to sign into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dr. King is visible behind the President’s left side. He is dressed in a dark suit over a white shirt and matching tie, and is viewing the signing over the President’s left shoulder. The room is crowded with a mix of Caucasian and African-American males, all wearing suits. They are standing in front of light colored curtains in the background, with the presidential seal and American flags displayed

CREDIT: LBJ Library photo by Cecil Stoughton.


IMAGE 3 of 4: A photo of marchers

CAPTION: Dr. King speaks to marchers, 8/28/1963

DESCRIPTION:

The black and white rectangular photograph shows just a few people in the crowd. The central figure is an apparently Caucasian marcher amid a group of African Americans. He has short hair, a pointed nose, and is wearing a white button down shirt. He is looking directly at the camera. His left hand is raised to head level and he is holding the dark-skinned hand of a person who is not visible. In the foreground is an African American male looking off camera to the viewer’s left. He has dark, tightly curled hair. He is wearing a gray suit. Everyone in the picture appears to be chanting or singing.

CREDIT: National Archives Photo


IMAGE 4 of 4: Dr. King and marchers with signs

CAPTION: Dr. King speaks to marchers, 8/28/1963.

DESCRIPTION:

In this square black and white photograph, Dr. King is in the lower right corner, wearing a dark suit over a white shirt and matching tie. Pinned to his left lapel is a large, white button with text on it. He is speaking and looking out of frame to the left. Behind him, in center frame, is a tall Caucasian male with short hair, glasses, and a long face. He is wearing a suit, a bow tie, and a button on his left lapel that matches Dr. King’s. Further to the left is a taller, older African American male. His face is long and his nose sharp over a narrow mustache. His suit jacket is lighter than his narrow tie. He wears a pork pie hat. At bottom left is a shorter African American male – John Lewis, the youngest of the group. He has short, cropped hair. His eyes are closed. His broad nose sits above an open mouth, a gap in his teeth. Behind this group of men we can see people holding protest signs. The text on the signs is truncated in the photograph.

CREDIT: National Archives Photo

RELATED TEXT:

The civil rights movement, galvanized by Dr. King’s leadership, resulted in the passage of a series of Civil Rights Acts (1957, 1960, and 1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965). Yet the movement was not bound by the limits of national borders. The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded Dr. King the 1964 Peace Prize for his dedication to nonviolent tactics, an honor which resonated as loud as his powerful writing and oratory to advocates of peace worldwide. His method followed the example of Mohandas K. Gandhi and the Indian independence movement to develop a broad strategy for unarmed resistance. Dr. King was acutely aware of the parallels between the condition of African Americans and others around the world. Dr. King was personal witness to this relationship, as he visited other nations where such change occurred. He remarked: “An old order of colonialism, of segregation, of discrimination is passing away now.”

Footnote: The section title comes from "The American Dream," 7/4/1965

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OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure

The back of the brochure is comprised of text, a quote, two maps, two black and white photographs, and a photograph of the memorial sculpture. The back is divided into three sections. The maps, a larger map with a smaller inset, are at the top of the page. They depict the site and the surrounding area.

The text, map and photo descriptions are presented under their own sections. The text explains the conception, creation, and symbolism of the memorial as a tribute to Dr. King’s life and impact.

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MAPS: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the area around it

IMAGE 1 of 2: Rectangular map

DESCRIBING: A medium, horizontal, illustrated map. 

DESCRIPTION:

A full color, illustrative aerial map of the area around the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial site, representing approximately one square kilometer. Blue represents water, light green is open ground, dark green is vegetation, and white is roads and pathways.


The MLK, Jr. Memorial Site is centered in the map, indicated by a red outline. The site is shaped like a right triangle, with the square corner in the northwest. There are roads on the north and west sides. The site is on the northwest edge of the Tidal Basin, a large clover shaped body of water. Going clockwise around the Basin from the site is the Kutz Bridge in the north, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the southeast, and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in the southwest. The road on the north side of the MLK, Jr. Memorial Site is Independence Avenue. To the northeast of the memorial site is the Lincoln Memorial, on the other side of Independence Avenue. The Reflecting Pool is east of the Lincoln Memorial, due north of the MLK Memorial. The Washington Monument is at the far eastern end of the Reflecting Pool. The Potomac River takes up the western edge of the map.

In the bottom left corner of the map is a circle inset map, described separately.

CREDIT: Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc


IMAGE 2 of 2: Circular map

DESCRIBING: A small, circular, illustrated map.

DESCRIPTION:

A circle inset map showing the details of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. It shows the two roads bordering the site on the north and west. The Bookstore and Ranger Station are located across the road to the west. There are many possible entrances to the site, from the northwest, east, south, and southwest. At the center is a large stone called “The Stone of Hope”. Slightly to the east of that are two large stones called “The Mountain of Despair”, with a wide path running between. Together, these three elements form one sculptural piece that is the focal point of the Memorial. Extending north and south from the Mountain of Despair are two curved Inscription walls. Surrounding these are winding paths with groupings of the famous Japanese cherry trees.


CREDIT: Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc

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IMAGE and TEXT: Not an end but a beginning

DESCRIBING: A small, square photograph in black and white. 

CAPTION: Dr. King delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech, 8/28/1963.

DESCRIPTION:

A square black and white photograph of Dr. King standing at a lectern with multiple microphones attached to it. He is speaking to someone, but the audience is not part of the image. We see his face in profile, as if we are standing on his left side. Behind Dr. King we see one of the massive white stone columns of the Lincoln Memorial. In the foreground is an African American National Park Service Ranger, staring out at the unseen crowd. His distinctive tan, wide brimmed hat, with a dark hat band stands out. He wears sunglasses, a uniform shirt and tie, with a name tag visible above his left breast pocket. The name on the tag is unreadable at the photographed angle. The heads of others near the lectern intrude into the bottom of the frame. The audience for this speech numbered over 200,000, but the photograph offers an intimate view of just Dr. King and the park ranger.

CREDIT: National Archives Photo

RELATED TEXT: 

Conceived by members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and completed under the leadership of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation, the memorial was dedicated on August 28, 2011, the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The location of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial accentuates his story within the larger narrative of the nation. It reinforces the place of his courageous leadership in the nation’s march toward freedom, proudly standing in the vista between the Lincoln Memorial and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. In 1957, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, a clear symbol of freedom, Dr. King delivered his first national address, “Give Us the Ballot.” He returned to the Lincoln Memorial as a key figure supporting the 1963 March on Washington. There, in the defining moment of his leadership in the movement for civil rights, Dr. King delivered his immortal “I Have a Dream” speech. Before an audience of over 200,000 people, he reaffirmed his belief in the ultimate redeemability of the words in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as that “promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.”6 This statement stresses the basic freedoms and rights which the Thomas Jefferson Memorial’s presence clearly reinforces. Prominently in the center of his memorial, the image of Dr. King stands thoughtful and resolute. The work of master sculptor Lei Yixin, his frame emerges from the Stone of Hope, which stands an impressive 28 feet, 6 inches. It serves as a testament to Dr. King’s leadership in the civil rights movement as a “drum major” for justice, peace, and righteousness. The enormity and strength of the granite reflects the steadfastness with which Dr. King and other members of the movement confronted the obstacles of segregation and injustice. His image, facing the Tidal Basin, reinforces the boundless opportunities for advancement in the future. The Stone of Hope stands forward of, and is detached from, the Mountain of Despair, a massive gateway representative of the struggle faced in the pursuit of social equality and peace. It also serves as a central entryway for the memorial. Water, representative of vitality and life, descends from fountains flowing from the sides of the Mountain of Despair. The quotations chosen for the inscription walls, which frame the Mountain of Despair and the Stone of Hope, stress four primary messages of Dr. King: justice, democracy, hope, and love.

Footnote: The section title comes from "I Have a Dream," 8/28/1963

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IMAGES, QUOTE, and TEXT: Unconditional love will have the final word

IMAGE 1 of 2: Young marcher

DESCRIBING: A small, horizontal photograph in black and white. 

CAPTION: Young child in March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at Washington, D.C., 8/28/1963.

DESCRIPTION:

In this black and white photograph, a young African American girl stares intently at the camera. She is standing behind a fence, pressed up against the surrounding crowd of adults. She has dark, straight hair and a broad nose. Her full lips are set in a stern line. Over her right shoulder is draped a light pennant, partially obscured, which reads, “March for Jobs & Freedom, August…”


CREDIT: National Archives Photo


IMAGE 2 of 2: Stone sculpture

DESCRIBING: A small, cut-out photograph in black and white. 

DESCRIPTION:

A sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr., who appears to be emerging from an enormous block of granite. His head and upper torso are clearly visible, though his unfinished legs disappear into apparently uncarved stone. Dr. King gazes pensively into the distance. He wears his customary suit. His arms are crossed, his right hand clasping his left elbow. In his left hand, tucked under his right elbow, is a document, rolled into a scroll.


CREDIT: NPS Photos

QUOTE: 

"Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t really matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life - longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now, I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” –Martin Luther King Jr. 

Side note: The name, likeness and quotations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are the intellectual property of The Estate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Inc. and are used with express permission.

RELATED TEXT:

The flowering Japanese cherry trees and their beautiful blossoms, which appear for just a few days every spring, are reminders of the beauty and brevity of life itself. Their return reinforces the tragedy of the untimely passing of Dr. King on April 4, 1968, and the need for persistence in subsequent generations in the struggle for human rights. As the memorial and its environs echo these sentiments in stone, earth, and water, so do the words of Dr. King, delivered in a sadly prophetic speech the day before his death.

Footnote: The section title comes from "Acceptance Speech at Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony," 12/10/1964

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IMAGE: Background

DESCRIBING: A large, vertical, faded photograph that functions as the background for the photos and text. 

DESCRIPTION:

A black and white photograph that has been highly pixelated to serve as a background for the lower half of the back side of the brochure. The view is from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking east. In the distance, about center page, is the silhouette of the Washington Monument. Between there and the bottom is seen the crowd attending the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Thousands of participants surround the Reflecting Pool, a long, straight, rectangular pool of water.


CREDIT: National Archives Photo

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

Accessibility for all visitors is a priority for National Mall and Memorial Parks. Many of our facilities are historic and accessibility is not always ideal. However, we are always working to improve. The Accessibility Coordinator would welcome your comments on areas for improvement.

Braille brochures of each of the memorials are available free of charge to onsite visitors. If possible, please contact us to provide advance notice of your visit. Avaiable brochures include the Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Korean War Veterans, Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Vietnam Veterans memorials and the Washington Monument.

ASL Interpretation is available upon request at no charge. Please contact us at least three weeks prior to your visit to make arrangements.

To contact the park, please call 202-426-6841, or email us through the links at our webpage, www.nps.gov/nama/contacts.htm

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OVERVIEW: More information

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is one of over 400 areas in the National Park
System. To learn more visit, www.nps.gov.

ADDRESS: National Mall and Memorial Parks 900 Ohio Drive, SW Washington, D.C. 20024-2000 

PHONE: 202-426-6841

WEBSITE: www.nps.gov/nama

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