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A large crowd fills the approximate 10,000 chairs at the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2012. Crowds began to gather at dawn at the memorial site, just to the southeast of the steps where King delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.
A large crowd fills the approximate 10,000 chairs at the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2012. Crowds began to gather at dawn at the memorial site, just to the southeast of the steps where King delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Thousands Gather on National Mall for King Dedication
Originally published October 16, 2011

As the sun began to rise over the nation’s capital, Oct. 16, thousands began to gather in the crisp morning air to honor the legacy of one of the most revered and respected men in American history.more More Arrow

Additional Special Content

- People of all hues came from all over to pay tribute to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the only one on the mall for someone other than an American president.more More Arrow

- An earthquake and a hurricane may have delayed this day, but this is a day that would not be denied. For this day, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s return to the National Mall. In this place, he will stand for all time, among monuments to those who fathered this nation and those who defended it; a black preacher with no official rank or title who somehow gave voice to our deepest dreams and our most lasting ideals, a man who stirred our conscience and thereby helped make our union more perfect.more More Arrow

Attendees' Impressions


Dennis Hawkes
- “Any able-bodied American should be here. You see people here in wheelchairs and on crutches,” said District resident, Dennis Hawkes, 57.more More Arrow


Hakim Turner
- “I came here to join in the festivities. It’s a beautiful day and everyone seems so happy to be here,” said 26-year-old Hakim Turner from Richmond, who chose not to enter the memorial site so that he could sell his commemorative buttons.more More Arrow


Baron Lewis
- Baron Lewis, 63, said the event brought him to D.C. from Chicago.more More Arrow


Saundra Boulware
- “I was little when I first saw the ‘I have a dream’ speech,” said Saundra Boulware of Camp Springs, Md.more More Arrow


Charles Arterson
- Albany resident, Charles Arterson, 57, met Dr. King when Arterson was five years old.more More Arrow


Clyde Hale
- Clyde Hale, 60, traveled from Tuscaloosa, Ala. with other members of the United Auto Workers, arriving early Sunday morning to witness the dedication ceremony for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.more More Arrow