The Tidal Basin
The Tidal Basin
This West Potomac Park memorial commemorates one of the leaders of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968). A Baptist minister and advocate of non-violent protest, he rose to prominence within the movement and became a national figure as a result of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956). Between 1957 and 1964, King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, and received the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership efforts. On April 4, 1968, while in Memphis to lend his support to striking sanitation workers, he was assassinated by James Earl Ray. Nearly thirty years after King’s death, Congress authorized his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, to erect a memorial in his honor in the nation’s capital. After its formation, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation selected West Potomac Park's Tidal Basin as the memorial’s site and held a design competition, which drew more than 900 entrants. In 2000, the foundation selected the proposal submitted by ROMA Design Group. To execute the work, the group hired Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin. Dedicated in 2011, the memorial consists of a thirty-foot-tall rough granite mountain with a large section sliced from it. The section features a relief of King, standing defiantly with arms crossed. The design was inspired by a line from the civil rights leader’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech” in which he states: “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
This West Potomac Park memorial commemorates the thirty-second President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945). Elected to the presidency four consecutive times (1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944), he served for a total of just over twelve years. During his time in office, Roosevelt enacted the New Deal to combat the effects of the Great Depression and prevent something like it from happening again. Later in his tenure, he shepherded the nation through the Second World War, the deadliest conflict in human history. On April 12, 1945, while vacationing in Warm Springs, Georgia, Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of sixty-three. Following his death, Congress established the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Commission in 1955. After nearly two decades of delay, the commission chose landscape architect Lawrence Halprin to design the memorial in 1974. Dedicated on May 2, 1997 by President Bill Clinton, it consists of five loosely-defined outdoor areas, four of which focus on Roosevelt’s four terms in office. Constructed of over four and a half tons of South Dakota red granite and utilizing 100,000 gallons of water, the memorial features several bronze sculptures and reliefs designed by various artists, in addition to a large waterfall, reflecting pool, and numerous quotations etched into the granite walls. After the National Organization on Disability criticized the memorial for not adequately addressing Roosevelt’s disability, a bronze sculpture of the president in his wheelchair was added in 2001.
The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington, D.C. dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, an American Founding Father and the third President of the United States. Built between 1939 and 1943, the Jefferson Memorial was designed by John Russell Pope in neoclassical architecture styles reminiscent of Jefferson's estate Monticello, the Rotunda at the University of Virginia, and the Pantheon in Rome. The memorial interior includes a bronze statue of Jefferson by Rudulph Evans and five of Jefferson's notable quotations. It is situated on the picturesque Tidal Basin on the National Mall, managed by the National Park Service.