Tourists and others will get a chance to see the new Martin Luther King Jr. national memorial in Washington when it opens to the public for the first time on Monday at 11 a.m.
With the opening of the memorial on the National Mall, the week-long celebration for the official dedication ceremony scheduled on Sunday will also kick off.
The monument, 15 years in the making, will serve as a tribute to the legacy of Dr. King on the National Mall not far from where the civil rights leader delivered his historic I Have a Dream speech before thousands of people on Aug. 28, 1963. The 30-foot sculpture of King is located on four acres along the Tidal Basin, aligned with the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials.
Some events are on the official schedule of the National Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Project Foundation, while others are invitation-only. Guests include former United Nations ambassador Andrew Young, who worked with King, while others are well-known personalities who believed in King's message, USA Today said.
Anthony Hamilton, Anita Baker, Denyce Graves, Naturally 7, Nolan Williams Jr. and the Voices of Inspiration, Ray Chew Live, and The Impressions will join for The Message in the Music Concert of Civil Rights Era Music on Thursday.
Other entertainers who will participate in Dedication Week events from Aug. 24 through Aug. 28 include Aretha Franklin, Bebe Winans, Jennifer Hudson, Al Green, India Arie, Idan Raichel, and Jamie Foxx.
'The Message in the Music' Concert will be an evening to enjoy the sounds of yesterday and be inspired for tomorrow. This concert will pay homage to the vital role Motown music played in the civil rights movement, said Harry E. Johnson Sr., president and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation Inc.
The concert is one of many Dedication Week events in celebration of Dr. King's life, dream, and legacy. We're thrilled to welcome these artists to our nation's capital to honor and pay tribute to King and share in the joy of the dedication of the Memorial, Harry added.
The official dedication of the memorial will take place on Aug. 28 in a West Potomac Park. The program will begin at 8:45 a.m. with a pre-dedication concert, and the dedication ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. followed by a post-dedication concert at two p.m.
The King Memorial has four main attractions -- Stone of Hope, Mountain of Despair, Inscription Walls and Auxiliary Building.
Mountain of Despair
The main entrance of the memorial is through the Mountain of Despair, a massive boulder symbolizing the struggle faced on the quest for peace and equality.
The granite walls extended either side of the Mountain of Despair, a total length of about 500 feet. A total of 14 quotes of Dr. King are engraved into the walls.
Stone of Hope
More than 28-feet tall, the Stone of Hope is the main attraction of the whole memorial compound. From this symbolic stone, a likeness of Dr. King emerges, looking across the Tidal Basin toward the Jefferson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorials.
This 3,000 square foot space houses a glass-walled bookstore, visitor comfort facilities and a National Park Service ranger station. A small plaza around the building is planted with cherry and elm trees under which visitors can rest in the shade on granite benches. The Tidal Basin is a man-made body of water to the south of the National Mall which acts as an overflow catch basin when the Potomac River swells, helping to prevent extensive flooding of the Mall.
Watch the video for a virtual tour: