MLK Memorial Dedication Postponed As Hurricane Irene Looms Off East Coast

UPDATED 08/26/11 7:37 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Martin Luther King memorial dedication set for Sunday in Washington, D.C.. has been cancelled because of Hurricane Irene, disappointing dozens of Chicagoans who had hoped to honor the civil-rights icon.

A group of people from St. Sabina church were gathering at the church Thursday getting ready to leave when the news hit. About 60 people — ranging in age from teens to seniors — were all excited for their bus trip to witness the dedication. It was to fall on the 48th anniversary of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the Washington mall.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said in a telephone interview on the CBS 2 Morning News Friday that many people are disappointed that the ceremony has to be postponed, but safety must take precedence. If the ceremony went ahead in inclement weather, a situation like the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair could result, he said.

“The fear is that with the anticipated winds and rain, that the stage, for example, could very well be too fragile, as what happened in Indiana, for example. Also, 30,000 chairs – if the wind begins to hurtle chairs, they would be like bullets of sorts,” Jackson said, “and so while there’s some measure of disappointment among those around the country who either can’t get in or get out because of the airplanes, the good news is that the statue has not been postponed, just the celebration.”

A new dedication date has not been set.

“They’re going to reinstate it again, because he deserves it,” Willie Barrow, a field organizer for King who was set to travel with the St. Sabina group, told CBS 2. “It was storming in the nation when he made his speech.”

The memorial site opened to the public earlier this week. The King tribute is the first national memorial dedicated to a civilian.



  • Saddened

    Just can’t believe the had an artist from China make this statue. It would have been an honor for some American artist to do it. It was said they couldn’t raise enough so they had it done in China to save money. What a shame.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live