The new Martin Luther King memorial on the National Mall has not had a good opening run. First, its star-studded dedication event was canceled because of Hurricane Irene. Then, long-simmering controversies were ignited as critics ripped the shoddy treatment of the memorial’s Chinese stonemasons, questioned a design that makes some people think the sculpture is half-done, and blasted a truncated quote that turns a thoughtful King sermon into a goofy boast about being “a drum major for justice.” Six weeks later, the inaugural event—originally slated to be a spectacle featuring scores of celebrity guests—will be somewhat smaller in scope. But it will still feature an African-American president formally opening a national memorial to a man prior presidents had used the FBI to spy upon—which is pretty amazing. The mangled quote, meanwhile, can still be changed.
The memorial dedication begins at 9 a.m. at West Potomac Park, West Basin Drive SW and Independence Avenue SW. Free. (888) 484-3373.