WASHINGTON (AP) — Visitors got their first up-close look Monday at the memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., including a towering granite sculpture inspired by the civil rights leader's "I Have a Dream" speech.
The site opened without fanfare around 11 a.m. to kick off a week of celebrations ahead of Sunday's official dedication. A few hundred people had lined up outside the site by late morning on what was a warm and sunny day in the nation's capital. A stream of people filed into the site, reading some of the 14 quotations from King's speeches inscribed into a 450-foot-long granite wall.
The memorial sits on the National Mall near the Tidal Basin, between memorials honoring Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. The sheer size of the 30-foot sculpture of King sets it apart from the nearby statues of Jefferson and Lincoln, which are both about 20 feet tall.