Statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unveiled on Washington Mall
Locals joined the tourists in Washington D.C. Monday for the unveiling of a towering granite sculpture of the charismatic leader of the American civil rights movement.
Hundreds of people filed through the entrance to the 4-acre memorial site in the nation's capital. Before reaching the huge sculpture, they passed through two pieces of granite carved to resemble the sides of a mountain.
The 30-foot-tall sculpture by Chinese artist Lei Yixin shows Dr. King appearing to emerge from a stone extracted from the mountain, which faces southeast across the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial.
The sculptor says this design is inspired by a line from King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963: "Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope."
Dr. King is the first person of color to have a memorial on the National Mall. It is surrounded by memorials to presidents — Thomas Jefferson to the southeast, Abraham Lincoln to the northwest, Franklin D. Roosevelt to the south.
A Chinese sculptor? China has plenty of very fine artists and sculptors, but are they saying they couldn't find an American sculptor to create a worthy statue of a man who devoted his life to making the American dream come true for millions of African-Americans? Does everything have to be made in China?