MLK Memorial Opens

Week of formal galas will precede Sunday's dedication

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 22, 2011 8:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – The official dedication isn’t until Sunday, but the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the National Mall opens today at 11am. The 30-foot-tall sculpture and 450-foot-long quotations-inscribed wall sit between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, the AP notes. A week of white-tie and black-tie events will precede Sunday’s dedication, with guests including former UN ambassador Andrew Young, USA Today adds. President Obama will speak at Sunday’s ceremony, which marks the 48th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and is expected to draw 200,000 guests.

Visitors to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial stand behind security fencing on the National Mall in Washington Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.
Visitors to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial stand behind security fencing on the National Mall in Washington Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Visitors to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial take pictures behind security fencing on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.
Visitors to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial take pictures behind security fencing on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is seen on the National Mall in Washington Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is seen on the National Mall in Washington Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A part of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is seen on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.
A part of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is seen on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A visitor to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial takes a picture of herself with her cellphone on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.
A visitor to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial takes a picture of herself with her cellphone on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A completed Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial stands behind security fencing on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.
A completed Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial stands behind security fencing on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
People look through the fence surrounding the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011.
People look through the fence surrounding the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
A detail of the memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is seen on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.
A detail of the memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is seen on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Visitors to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial take pictures behind security fencing on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.
Visitors to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial take pictures behind security fencing on the National Mall in Washington, Sunday, Aug., 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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