The public got its first glimpse of the MLK Memorial on Monday as it was unveiled in Washington, D.C. The memorial will be officially dedicated on Sunday, August 28, which is the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington and King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The entire $120 million memorial consists of a 30-foot statue of King emerging from stone and a 450-foot-long granite wall that is inscribed with 14 of King’s quotations from his speeches and books. It sits on the National Mall near the Tidal Basin between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials.
The statue has provoked some controversy over the decision to select Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin as head sculptor for the project. Some have argued that the likeness of Dr. King looks too confrontational with his arms crossed, and others have claimed that the face appears to have Asian features. The design was chosen by the the children of the civil rights leader, Martin Luther King III and Bernice King, who have been reported to be very pleased with the likeness.