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MLK Memorial Foundation Press Conference pt. 4

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Published on Nov 5, 2009

Building permit issued for King Memorial
Alpha Phi Alpha dream of 20 years ago soon to be reality

WASHINGTON—The long dream of a monument to Martin Luther King Jr. is one more step closet to reality. At a signing ceremony in the nations capital Thursday, Oct. 29, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar formally executed the documentation that permits the building and construction of a memorial to the slain civil rights leader, on the National Mall.

I am excited to move forward with construction, said Harry E. Johnson Sr., president of the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation.

We are in the home stretch of the fundraising campaign to build this national memorial to Brother King and I call on all Americans to participate in our Build the Dream: Countdown to Completion phase of the fundraising campaign by donating $1 or more to become a part of history, said Johnson.

More than $106 million has been raised for the construction. Approximately $120 million is needed for completion. Members of Alpha Phi Alpha, Kings fraternity, have contributed more than one million to the effort.

Now that Salazar has signed a construction permit, the foundation may proceed with construction of the memorial. The new memorial will be situated adjacent to the Roosevelt Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. King delivered his famous I Have a Dream Speech at the Lincoln Memorial in August, 1963.

It is amazing to think that it was four members of our fraternity, who sat around a kitchen table 20 years ago and thought of a way to honor one of our greatest Brothers, said Brother Herman Skip Mason, Jr., (national) general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, I wish they were here to see their dream come true.

Congress passed Joint Resolutions in 1996 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a memorial honoring King, to be built in Washington, D.C. The ceremonial groundbreaking took place November 13, 2006, and construction is slated to be completed in 2011.

The design of the four-acre memorial includes the use of water, stone and trees to symbolize Kings call to America for justice, opportunity and hope for all people.

In addition to the general public, also on hand for the signing ceremony was Christine King Farris, Kings sister and the matriarch of the King Family, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and several members of the Congressional Black and Hispanic Caucuses.

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