Chicagoans attend private dedication at MLK monument

August 26, 2011 3:20:40 PM PDT
The dedication of the Martin Luther King Junior monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. was cancelled by Hurricane Irene. But the group responsible for creating the memorial carried on with a private ceremony on Friday to honor the Civil Rights leader -- and his dream.

Members of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, to which Dr. King belonged, gathered on the mall. Dr. King's daughter, Bernice King, spoke. Several family members and Civil Rights leaders also filled the stage. They made a silent march from that stage to the monument.

Dr. King's son, Martin Luther King, III, said it's important the nation honor a man of peace among its presidential and war memorials.

"If this inspires young people and enhances my father's dream - my father wouldn't like this if it didn't inspire young people," said Martin Luther King III.

Members of Alpha Phi Alpha from the Chicago area made the trip here to be a part of this weekend's events.

"This is an amazing, wonderful moment in the history of our country," Rory Smith said.

"It's a little overwhelming to see it here after all these years," Michael Owens said.

With the approaching storm on his mind, Evanston's Rami Hagari headed to see the monument Friday afternoon. He said he'll definitely return.

"They saying's it's going to be really rough, I think safety is coming ahead," said Hagari.

MLK Foundation organizers say the official dedication ceremony will be moved to later this fall - and are looking at several possible dates - including the weekend of the Congressional Black Caucus Convention.

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