A 30-foot granite statue of Martin Luther King Jr. opened for a public preview at the National Mall in Washington on Monday ahead of Sunday's official dedication ceremony.

The slain civil rights leader is the first person who didn't serve as president of the U.S. to receive a major memorial on the mall, which is surrounded by monuments and memorials honoring presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham. The idea for the King memorial was proposed about 27 years ago, according to CBS News.

It will be dedicated on Sunday, 48 years after King led the 1963 March on Washington and delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech.

At the new memorial, King is depicted standing with a scroll of papers in his hands. An inscription on at the sculpture reads: Out of the Mountain of Despair, a Stone of Hope.

A 450-foot wall full of inscriptions includes some of King's most famous lines including, We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.

Visitors of the memorial will be able to enter through the two pillars that depict the Mountain of Despair. Both displays were built on 150 blocks of granite.

Some critics have said that the statue doesn't look like King, according to CBS News. But Harry Johnson, president and CEO of the Memorial Foundation, said they chose the best sculptor for the project.

Alluding to a famous King speech, Johnson said Dr. King himself said you shouldn't judge a person by their skin but by the content of their character, and in these terms we're talking about this man's artistic character.

The display was created by Lei Yixin, who holds the title of master sculptor in his native China, where most of the work was done, CBS News said.