Martin Luther King Memorial



Today is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.  The iconic sculpture (shown above) by Lei Yixin is well known and frequently photographed.  Behind the statue there is a long, gently curved wall containing quotations from some of his speeches.  On my most recent visit a few days ago, I selected a few of them to accompany the photo above.


Excerpt from “A Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963


From his speech after the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama on March 25, 1965


Address to the Youth March for Integrated Schools in Washington DC, April 18, 1959


From his 1963 book, “Strength to Love”



Acceptance Speech for the Nobel Peace Prize, December 10, 1964, Oslo, Norway

23 thoughts on “Martin Luther King Memorial

  1. You did it again, Robin. I’m under your spell and can’t move on to the next post in my reader! I love the first photo. I like the angle you took the photo and the composition a lot. I am a little confused with the light direction. Is this HDR?
    I am going to borrow one quote you listed here. I hope it’s ok 😉
    Have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Helen, thanks for the nice words! Feel free to borrow any of the quotes, they are definitely in thepublic domain. In the case of the top picture, I am shooting almost directly into the sun which is partially–almost completely–blocked by the clouds. It’s a single image, but shot in RAW, so I was able to pull detail out of the statue which was pretty dark in the original image. The key was to check the histogram after each shot (there were several until I got it right) to make sure there was no clipping on the dark side and that the over-exposed portions of the sky were kept to a minimum. The cloud came through while I was doing the others along the wall, so it was a bit of luck.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Your image of the sculpture is superb. The light starting to peek out from behind the dark clouds is the perfect accompaniment not only to Dr King but also the times we find ourselves in. I think it is a very striking sculpture and it has become one of my favourite WDC memorials.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi, Nathan: Tough question, and harder to answer every year as more and more choices become available. A good place to start is to join a local photo club if one exists near you. These groups provide an instant network of photo enthusiasts at all levels and lots of ways to learn the craft. The key question is to figure out in general terms what kinds of photography you want to do. Landscape or street photography; portraits of people; architecture or macro, travel and adventure, and so on. That usually will help narrow down the requirements. In the meantime, if you don’t already own a reasonably good camera, most digital cameras these days in the $500 range will deliver acceptable results. Go ahead and get one with the kit lens and start shooting. Also, you will need some post-processing software such as Lightroom and Photoshop. Once you find what really excites you in subject/technique, then you can move into the camera system that will take you to the huigher levels. Feel free to send specific questions to me via this channel or via email at Good luck!


    • Thanks, Denise! Yes, it is located right on the Tidal Basin across from the Jefferson Memorial and next to the FDR Memorial, a short walk from the Lincoln Memorial. Hope you will vist our city again. Feel free to send me a note if you have questions about specific photo ops here.


  3. I, too, love your first photo with the drama of clouds adding to MLK’s solid and confident posture. This is another nudge for me to read his original writings, again. I also would like to visit the new African-American museum the next time I’m in DC. Have you been there? I heard that tickets were difficult to come by because so many people want to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much, Annette. I have not been there yet. It is a tough ticket but not as bad as when it first opened. There are a couple ways to get tickets, one of which is the same-day timed pass, but you have to be already in town for that. The online feature goes live at 6:30 AM and is sold out quickly. There is a second chance at 1 PM for walk-up passes (same day) but I imagine the line is long and the numbers are limited. If you have flexibility in your travel plans you can try for the online advanced tickets. They will start taking online requests for June 2017 starting on March 1 at 9 AM. Again, have your mouse poised as the clock hand approaches the magic moment. More info can be found here and additional detrails can be found here Everyone we know who has been there has been impressed and all say that it takes several visits to get it all. The museum is arranged more or less in chronological historical order with the early days (slavery) on the lowest floor and the present time at the top. So you can concentrate on the parts that are of highest interest if time is limited. When we do get our tickets we’ll also scout the museum online in advance to have a better sense of where everything is. Hope you are able to get there without too much hassle.

      Liked by 1 person

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