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Martin Luther King Jr. honored across U.S. (and in Google Doodle)

January 16, 2012 |  9:12 am
Click here to see more photos.The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is being remembered across the nation Monday with an array of events and commemorations (and, of course, a Google Doodle) saluting his role in putting this nation on a path toward racial equality. Of special note: This is the first Martin Luther King Jr. Day to be celebrated at the new national memorial to the civil rights icon in Washington.

As for the Google Doodle, by artist Faith Ringgold, it shows King -- hands raised to the heavens -- linked to fellow African Americans by red, white, and blue and by ribbons of text from one of the most stirring speeches in history: "I have a dream that ... your little children will not be judged by the color of their skin" and "We shall overcome someday."

At the new Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial, a wreath-laying ceremony was held Sunday on what would have been King's 83rd birthday.

PHOTOS: Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

The $120-million memorial on the northwestern shore of the Tidal Basin, half a mile southeast of the Lincoln Memorial steps where King made his famous speech, has been open to the public since summer. Its formal dedication, which was attended by President Obama, was initially postponed by Hurricane Irene.

The memorial itself is striking. In honor of King’s words “out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope,” his memorial figure emerges from granite, flanked by taller mountains of granite, with his arms folded and eyes set on the horizon. A 450-foot-long wall behind the figure holds inscriptions of more quotations from King.

The memorial has already been visited by more than 100,000 people, Carol Bradley Johnson, a National Park Service spokeswoman, told The Times.

GALLERY: The evolution of the doodle

Throughout the country Monday, people will be honoring the work of King by pausing to recall his words and his deeds, and by being of service to others. 

Obama was planning to visit the Browne Education Campus in Washington in the morning for a service project, and he and First Lady Michelle Obama will attend the Let Freedom Ring Celebration at the Kennedy Center in the evening.

King, the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, was slain in April 1968 in Memphis. A federal holiday was established in his name in 1986.


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-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., center, leads a march in Boston on April 23, 1965, protesting the racial imbalance in the city's schools and slum housing conditions. Credit: Bettmann / Corbis