SOURCE: Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial

February 15, 2007 18:04 ET

Council of Historians Selects Martin Luther King Quotations to Be Engraved Into Memorial

Sculptor Also Chosen to Carve King Image Into Memorial

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 15, 2007 --The Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation announced today the selected quotations from Dr. King's writing, sermons and speeches that will be permanently engraved into memorial walls. In addition, the Memorial Foundation announced Master Lei Yixin as the Sculptor of Record who will carve the image of Dr. King into the "Stone of Hope," the centerpiece of the Memorial.

Memorial Foundation's "Council of Historians" selected quotations that best reflect King's ideals of hope, democracy, and love, the three main themes of the memorial. These quotations were verbally approved today by the Commission of Fine Arts:

Left (South Wall)

Loc 1: "If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective." -- 24 December 1967, Atlanta, GA

Loc 2: "Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in." -- 18 April 1959, Washington, DC

Loc 3: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." -- 16 August 1967, Atlanta, GA

Loc 4: "I oppose the war in Viet Nam because I love America. I speak out against it not in anger but with anxiety and sorrow in my heart, and above all with a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as a moral example."-- 25 February 1967, Los Angeles, CA

Loc 5: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." -- 1963, Strength to Love

Loc 6: "We are determined here in Montgomery to work until justice runs 'down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.'" -- 5 December 1955, Montgomery, AL

Loc 7: Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial

Right (North Wall)

Loc 1: "I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant." -- 10 December 1964, Oslo, Norway

Loc 2: "To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love." -- November 1957, Ebony Magazine

Loc 3: "I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies; education and culture for their minds; and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits." -- 10 December 1964, Oslo, Norway

Loc 4: "'We must not wage war.' It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it. We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war, but on the positive affirmation of peace." -- 24 December 1967, Atlanta, GA

Loc 5: "...The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands in moments of challenge and controversy." -- 25 February 1967, Los Angeles, CA

Loc 6: "Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it. Hatred confuses life, love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life, love illuminates it." (Source Pending from Dr. Clayborne Carson)

Loc 7: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly." -- 16 April 1963, Birmingham, AL

Loc 8: "True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice." -- 16 April 1963, Birmingham, AL

Loc 9: Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial

The Council of Historians is comprised of the following cultural icons: Dr. Maya Angelou (Reynolds Professor of American Studies, Wake Forest University), Mr. Lerone Bennett, Jr. (Executive Editor and Historian, Ebony Magazine/Johnson Publishing Company), Dr. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (Chair, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University), Lonnie G. Bunch (Director, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History & Culture), Dr. James Chaffers (Professor, University of Michigan), Dr. Johnetta B. Cole (President, Bennett College), Dr. John Hope Franklin (Duke University Department of History), Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Chair, Department of African and African American Studies, Harvard University), F. Michael Higginbotham (University of Baltimore School of Law, John and Frances Angelos Law Center), Mr. Jon Lockard (Professor, University of Michigan), Dr. Cornel West (Professor of Religion and African American Studies, Princeton University), and Marianne Williamson (Spiritual Leader).

When asked why love was suggested as a major theme for the memorial, Professor Lockard said, "Love is the interconnectedness between individuals, between communities, between ethnic and religious groups, and between nations. It is ONENESS! Until these concepts are reinforced from families to families, societies to societies, nations to nations; world leadership has a tremendous amount of work yet to do."

The Memorial Foundation also proudly announced Master Lei Yixin as sculptor for the Memorial's 28-foot high, light beige Stone of Hope. After careful consideration of sculptors worldwide, Master Lei was chosen because of his talent, vast expertise working with granite, and his experience with sculptures on a grand scale. Master Lei is considered both a national treasure of China as well as a first-class sculptor. A graduate from Guangzhou Arts University in 1982, Master Lei quickly gained recognition for his public works on display in Changsha, Hunan. Several of his award-winning sculptures have been in a collection at China's National Art Gallery, which is believed to be the highest honor for a Chinese sculptor. Currently, Master Lei is the President of the Sculpture Association of Hunan and the Vice-President of the Fine Art Institute of Hunan.

"Master Lei comes highly recommended by his peers. His artistic talent and the quality of his work speak for itself," said Dr. Jackson of the Memorial Foundation. "Given the artistic solution we are striving for, the Foundation feels that we've chosen the best of the best."

In describing the Stone of Hope Dr. Jackson continues, "At the entry portal, two stones are parted and a single stone is pushed back in the horizon. The stone appears to have been pulled from what was once a single boulder and thrust forward. The rough hewn edges of the stone begin to take on the familiar contours of Dr. King. On one side the words, '...Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope' and on the other side Dr. King's own eulogy, "...Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter."

On the development front, the Memorial Foundation has raised $77 million out of the needed $100 million to complete and maintain the Memorial. Construction begins this year.

Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.

A memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be built on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The Memorial will be situated adjacent to the F.D.R. Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. Congress passed Joint Resolutions in 1996 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a memorial honoring Dr. King to be built in Washington, DC. The Ceremonial Groundbreaking took place on November 13, 2006 and the Memorial is scheduled to be completed in 2008. Website: www.buildthedream.org.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Rica Rodman Orszag
    Washington, DC
    Martin Luther King Jr.
    National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.
    202-253-8974
    Email Contact