President Obama confirmed that he will deliver remarks at the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial event in Washington D.C., just as the memorial foundation president Harry Johnson hoped he would. Celebrities Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Jamie Foxx and Star Wars’ George Lucas will serve as the celebrity co-chairs, while the King family survivors will be on hand.
The legendary entertainers are going to participate in a series of concerts and other events over the five days leading up to the dedication, the first memorial on the Washington Mall to honor a non-president and African American.
“We deeply appreciate the support of Stevie, Aretha, Berry, George, Jamie, and Clarence, leaders from the entertainment community, who believe in and portray Dr. King’s universal messages of democracy, hope, justice, and love,” said Johnson, president and CEO of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. “The dedication of the MArtin Luther King Memorial has been long-awaited, and people from around the world are coming to experience this tremendous, historic moment. We are excited to welcome them all.”
Civil rights leaders including Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Andy Young, Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Reverend Joseph Lowery, and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will play a role in several events in the nation’s capital to celebrate the Memorial’s dedication August 24 through 28.
Also, former Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, General Colin Powell, Tom Brokaw, Maya Angelou, Alpha Phi Alpha General President Herman “Skip” Mason, Jr., Tommy Hilfiger, General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson, leaders of the faith-based community and more will participate in dedication-week events.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will be officially dedicated on August 28 at 11 a.m. A pre-dedication program will commence at 8:45 a.m. and a post-dedication concert will follow the ceremony. The ceremony will mark the 48th anniversary of King’s “I have a dream” speech during the March on Washington in 1963.
– terry shropshire