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Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is Dedicated in Kenneth Hahn State Recreational Area

Photo by Jason Lewis

News

The memorial is at the highest point of the park, overlooking the city.

By Megan Reed

The city of Los Angeles honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1983 by renaming Santa Barbara Avenue, which ran through the city’s Black neighborhoods, after the civil rights icon.  Now, 50 years after his passing, the county has honored him by creating the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Tree Grove at the highest point of Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, which overlooks the bulk of the city.

The memorial was dedicated on March 31 with hundreds of people in attendance.

“There are undoubtedly hundreds of thousands of memorials, institutions, streets, avenues, boulevards, and other monuments across the globe that are dedicated to Dr. King,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.  “But today we seek to do something a little different and a little special.  Today we meet Dr. King at the mountain top.  I believe once you experience the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial tree grove here at the very top of Kenneth Hahn State Park, you will find few other places that are so peaceful, so exquisite, and so humbling, that will inspire your reflection of his life, and cause you to honor it accordingly.

“This is our way of paying tribute to America’s most prominent drum major for peace.”

The 15,000-sq. ft. tree grove features stone pillars that evokes memories of the site where Dr. King delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  The stones and the path leading up to it are inscribed with some of the civil rights icon’s most inspiring words.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson shared one of Dr. King’s quotes at the dedication ceremony.

“There comes a point when silence is the same as complicity,” he said of the Dr. King quote.  

“That means, at a certain point, if you see something, and you don’t say something, it’s almost as bad as you doing the something.  So, as we remember that quote, I want to remind everybody, as Dr. King was saying something, it wasn’t always welcomed.  I’m proud to be a graduate of Morehouse College, and was inspired to go to Dr. King’s alma mater.  His own college banned Martin Luther King from the campus because he wouldn’t be silent.  The city of Los Angeles itself said, ‘Don’t land in our airport, we don’t want you in this town.’  And today we have a monument in the middle of our city in his honor.  So remember that silence is desirable sometimes because it’s comfortable, but when you speak out, and you know that you’re on the right side of history, that history will absolve you.  And history will remember your name and remember your cause, and you will be a part of bringing us to the kind of community and world that we all deserve to live in.”

The memorial can be found in the upper eastern region of the park.

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