WASHINGTON – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was laid to rest in April 1968. But on Aug. 26, 2011, the Alpha Phi Alpha Greek fraternity, of which King was a member, brought its most prominent member back to life by christening his historic memorial on the National Mall during a private ceremony overlooking the Potomac River.
Two of King’s three surviving children, Martin Luther King III and Rev. Bernice King, and MLK’s lone surviving sibling, Christine King Farris, were joined by thousands of King associates and admirers, particularly the Alphas cloaked in black and gold suits, including Ambassador Andrew Young, Roland Martin and Harry Johnson, the former president of the Alphas and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial. Also in attendance were Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network; Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League; Rod Gillum, General Motors VP; Xernona Clayton, founder of the Trumpet Awards; and Myrlie Evers-Williams, the esteemed widow of Medgar Evers, who was also assassinated during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
Dexter King, the MLK offspring who most resembles his famous father, was conspicuously absent.
After the ceremony, the multitude ventured over to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial to bask in the monumental moment of having the first African American and first non-president be immortalized on the National Mall. Not even an earthquake and a hurricane — both rare occurrences in the District of Columbia that popped off during the MLK Dedication week — could steal the magnitude of this moment in the minds and hearts of the attendees.
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