The Martin Luther King Jr National Memorial is one of the newest of the major monuments on and around the National Mall. It’s located on the northwest bank of the Tidal Basin opposite the Jefferson Memorial and not far from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington.
The $120 million project is an open-air memorial on a 4-acre site. Its centerpiece is a large statue of Dr. King, sculpted by Lei Yixin carved from Chinese white granite. The statue is surrounded by a large crescent-shaped area of landscaping combining stone, water, and trees. Other features of the grounds include a “Mountain of Despair,” symbolic of the struggle for civil and human rights. A piece of the Mountain of Despair has been separated to create the “Mountain of Hope,” and from it emerges the figure of Dr. King standing, arms crossed, gazing out over the Tidal Basin towards the Jefferson Memorial. On either side of the statue is an Inscription Wall with extracts from Dr. King’s speeches and writings. The memorial sits on a direct line between the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial.
The official address of the memorial is 1964 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC. The number 1964 was chosen as a nod to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Photos of the MLK Memorial
More about the MLK Memorial
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, located in West Potomac Park in Washington, DC, is a poignant tribute to one of the most influential figures in American history. The memorial, which was opened to the public in 2011, is dedicated to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Civil Rights leader known for his profound contributions to the fight for racial equality in the United States.
The centerpiece of the memorial is a 30-foot high statue of Dr. King, carved from white granite. The statue depicts Dr. King emerging from a stone of hope, a design inspired by a line in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The statue is situated along the Tidal Basin, between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, signifying the continuity of the struggle for equality.
The memorial also includes a 450-foot long inscription wall, featuring fourteen of King’s quotes promoting democracy, justice, hope, and love. These quotes, selected from King’s speeches, sermons, and writings, span his career and encapsulate his vision of a more equitable and just world.
Designed by the ROMA Design Group, and carved by sculptor Lei Yixin, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is the first to honor an African American individual on or near the National Mall. The memorial serves as a place of reflection and a reminder of the ongoing struggle for civil rights.
I have many more photos of the MLK Memorial here.
There is some parking next to the MLK Memorial along West Basin Drive SW, including some disabled parking spots. There’s also a small parking lot on the eastern side of the Tidal Basin accessed along Maine Ave SW. (This parking lot is closed off during cherry blossom season.) There’s more parking along the Potomac, extending all the way along Ohio Drive and up around Hains Point, including some convenient parking lots at the foot of the 14th Street Bridge.
When completed, the MLK Memorial will be an open-air space and accessible all day and night. There’s generally no problem using tripods or flash so long as you’re not interfering with others or creating a tripping hazard.
If you want the sun on the front of the statue, go in the morning–the statue faces east.
Commercial shoots and filming may require a permit.