Our network

Tears Fall At The Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Tears Fall At The Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) --- Lloyd McGriff wipes away tears after witnessing the face of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., carved out of granite.

"The moment was phenomenal. I think it's breathtaking, an out-of-body experience in many respects. You feel as though you are on holy ground," he says. 

The senior pastor of Galilee Baptist Church is one of about 17 local faith-based leaders who got to see the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial before its completion and dedication in August.

The $120 million project sits near the Tidal Basin on the National Mall.


A wall of granite greets the visitors upon entering the site. Quotes from the Civil Rights leader are inscribed on the stone.

"I think it's just amazing, and I'm just so glad it's finally come to fruition. It's been a long time, and it is indeed a dream," says Geneva Hudson, deacon of the People's Congregational United Church of Christ.

The centerpiece of the memorial is a literal translation of a phrase from Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech: "Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope." 

Dr. King's 30-foot statue is carved from a piece of granite that symbolizes the "stone of hope." Two additional pieces of granite depict the "mountain of despair."

Henry Hicks, senior minister of the Metropolitan Baptist Church, says he remembers the bloodshed when looking at the pristine statue. 

"[It] is stained with blood, the blood of hundreds who gave their lives in the struggle for freedom.  So to make our way through this mountain of despair and to find ourselves on the edge of hope and to know that a brighter day is coming, [it] encourages us all," he says. 

Written by Elizabeth Jia