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. banasy©


    By figuring out who here always sees the glass as empty and broken.

    August 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ Troll bait, or favored name for this fifteen minutes or less:
    Don't try your detail-point-on-point technique on me.
    There are exceptions to everything. There are drillers who read and study.
    And bicker.
    You know, and I know, that most Americans who owned black slaves were white, like me.
    My buddy, you argue from facts–one assumes that they are facts, since they're not important enough to merit research–abstracted from the core issue and distorted to seem to represent the core issue.
    You could be the Wizard of Oz standing behind a curtain surrounded by smoke and floating detail-particles of bovine fecal matter.

    August 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Malcom X

    I deserve a memorial over this egomaniac. I stayed true to my beloved wife, while he was plowing everything that wasn't nailed down. I'm sure God expects more from a man of God.

    August 25, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jazzzzzzzz

    JUst woke up, came home sick from work and JIF's post is the first thisgn I see... Joe could you tell us how you REALLY feel.....
    night all I'm going back to bed, it seems to be safer theire

    August 25, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Feel better.

    August 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Smoke and Mirrors

    Casting aspersions STILL, Malcom X?

    August 25, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jj

    3 catfish! nice ones too sunscreen sucked!

    August 25, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jazzzzzzzz

    Hey JOe, I had to look back to see what was said. While MLK did much for his ppl as well as all of us... I have to say 2 things; 1... Everythting we do will be (written in the book) good and bad. 2... The truth is NEVER pretty or politilly correct, it jus IS... sORRY for the tyo guys , i. really going back to bed now
    thanks joe

    August 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. laughing out loud

    @Joey: apparently you completely missed my point which is that there indeed are exceptions to the rule. Oh let's not forget all the white people who died to end slavery. History isn't a black and white issue. Yes slavery was a terrible stain on America as was how we treated the American Indian. Painting everyone with such a broad stroke is an easy argument to make but that would be like me blaming black people for how indians were treated since buffalo soldiers were a part of the indian wars.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Malcom X

    @Smoke N Mirrors: Yes I am. I am only pointing out that which needs to be pointed out. Slavery is condoned in the Bible, yet a biblical man set out to end all forms of it and rightfully so. There is more slavery today than ever before and it's not really white people doing it. In fact white slaves did exist and still do exist today, so when we take one issue and make only one ethnicity the bad guy/victim then we effectively look away from the real cause for slavery which is greed and control.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mr SandyK

    As a black man I have to say Thank you all who went before me, including slaves, the opportunities I have because of them could shake this world. As a black man I have to say I`m sorry to all those who have gone before me for just causing a ripple.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bill

    Mr.SandyK: Very well stated, lest we forget though sometimes a small ripple can be the catalyst for great change in the world so I wouldn't be too sorry for them, who knows what their ripple may have led to.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mr SandyK

    @bill you are right! never minimize a ripple! be blessed

    August 26, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mr SandyK

    I also have to say for whatever its worth Malcom X seemed a good man. like most of us searching for that `one thing` searching for that `one thing` that makes it all make sense. agree or disagree the brother believed! it had to tear him up to realize he had been mislead.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. s kel

    stanley is just a stupid ignorant meth smoking bi*ch.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
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