Dedication of King memorial postponed due to Irene
The site of the 30-foot granite sculpture opened to the public Monday.
August 25th, 2011
09:15 PM ET

Dedication of King memorial postponed due to Irene

[Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET] Sunday's dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington has been postponed because of Hurricane Irene's expected advance on the U.S. East Coast, an organizer said Thursday evening.

Harry Johnson Sr., head of the memorial's foundation, said that the last event of a series that had been planned for the weekend would be a national prayer service on Saturday. The dedication of the memorial will be moved to a still undetermined date in September or October, he said.

Johnson and other organizers had said five hours earlier that the dedication would go forward as scheduled. But Thursday evening, Johnson told reporters that foundation officials changed their mind, deciding to postpone the event out of concern for visitors’ safety, after consulting with officials and forecasters tracking the storm.

"The obvious reason why we’re making this announcement is to allow those folks who have not yet travelled here the opportunity not to come in harm's way," Johnson said. "We're also offering up the opportunity for those who are here, that if they want to try to leave, they can leave before the weather gets bad on Saturday."

"I remained optimistic all day. But Mother Nature is Mother Nature," Johnson added.

President Barack Obama was scheduled to dedicate the site, near Washington's Tidal Basin between the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial, in a ceremony starting at 11 a.m. Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center on Thursday issued a hurricane warning for coastal North Carolina, saying that Irene - a Category 3 storm pounding the Bahamas on Thursday afternoon - could be near North Carolina on Saturday.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for Washington, according to the National Weather Service, which said the storm could affect the area with tropical-storm force winds late Saturday through early Sunday.

The governors of Virginia, Maryland and three other states have declared emergencies ahead of the storm.

The site of the 30-foot granite sculpture of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. opened to the public Monday. Groundbreaking took place in November 2006, and Sunday's planned dedication is timed with the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington, where King delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Weather permitting, the memorial site will be open Friday from noon to 10 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon, Johnson said.

- CNN's Paul Courson and the CNN Wire Staff contributed to this report.

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soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. s kel

    yeltzin got any nukes for sell or potato volka russki mob trash. sorry slav.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    And the person trying to diminish him is still a lesser man.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JM

    It is so sad how ignorant the world can be these days. I think people become more ignorant as time goes on. I'm only 24 but I ve seen more ignorance now than ever. What's the point of school when no one has learned crap?! I see why bookstores are goin out of business. Just sad.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dad?

    Rather stare through a plastic American flag at an image of MLK than discuss anything of substance. You are one of those who think that slaves were kidnap victims from Africa, when in fact they were sold into slavery by their own leaders. King knew this but never discussed it in public. He directed black America's anger at Uncle Sam, never at muslim governments who had enslaved many times more people than the US did. His silence speaks volumes about the man...the image, really. Get some new glasses banasy.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©


    At 24, you sound eminently practical.
    It sounds as if you took your education seriously.
    Well done.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dad?

    ...and the woman trying to diminish her lesser man must be how low then?

    August 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. s kel

    JT your sister is having cotractions, shes having your baby in the trailer, get off the meth and help her.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dad?

    My fav MLK moment came when Judge Joe Brown conducted his own investigation into the assasination story you all still buy-into today. His findings and yours never have matched-up. But you watch this old Judge's TV show, dontcha.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    Why are you speaking to me this way?
    I wasn't speaking to you.
    It was an observation.
    Strike a chord within you?

    August 25, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©


    I knew that Africa's leaders sold their own people into slavery.
    I learned that in H.S.
    Yes, they taught that in H.S. Way back then, and they teach in school *now*.
    I talk about things of substance; they're just not things *you* consider substantial.
    The topics of the day are not always of *your* choosing, no matter how much you want to dominate the threads.
    I figured out who you are.
    Now, please leave me out of your diatribes.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    My long post addressed to Dad? didn't make it through the traffic of computer censorship.
    Reader's Digest version:
    Don't throw red herrings around about slavery.
    It doesn't matter who captured and sold them in Africa.
    In America, it was our white ancestors who held them as slaves.
    Not African Muslims or rival tribal leaders, or even an African-slave Sol Hurok.
    We did it here.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    And why, pray tell, would he direct black anger towards the Muslims when he was talking about the Black experience in America?
    It was America's tolerance for the inequality of Blacks that he was trying to eradicate.
    See, perhaps he was trying to do things one step at a time..
    Perhaps he would have spoke out against everything *you* think he should have in time, except that pesky assassination got in the way.
    The thing that speaks volumes is that you prefer to try to smear a person who didn't do things exactly as *you* would have.
    Regardless if the man had illegitimate kids, regardless what *you* think he should have spoke against, you *are* trying to diminish him.
    In your quest to take over yet another board to "educate" them, you have suceeded in looking very, very petty.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Canadian Genius

    LOL you jiggg lovers. In Canada we know how to treat our blacks. Throw them a bucket of KFC then turn on the fire hoses.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Canadian Genius

    You know wht they carved this saambo out of rock? He was a blockhead.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Canadian Genius

    MLK was so dumb his mom had to name him after a road so he would remember his name.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
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