Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Gardens, Raleigh
The approximately one-acre memorial garden includes a 6-foot-tall bronze statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. standing on a small circular platform. The statue is thought to be the only one depicting King in his Doctorate Clerical Robe. King stands at eye-level, appearing more approachable, and is encircled by the King Memorial Wall, which is made from 2,500 named bricks noting individuals, churches, businesses and organizations that supported and contributed to the creation of the facility. There is also a 12 ton, table-like granite water monument that honors pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement. The garden is compact, but it contains benches for resting and reflection as well as trees, shrubs, and flowers.
On a pyramid protruding from the water monument is inscribed: . . .UNTIL JUSTICE ROLLS DOWN LIKE WATERS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS LIKE A MIGHTY STREAM
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
On the flat table-like portion of the monument, the names of Civil Rights pioneers are inscribed.
On the brick wall, there is a plaque inscribed: FROM 1955 TO 1966 THE EQUALIBRIUM OF AMERICAN SOCIETY WAS ROCKED BY WAVES OF SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PROTEST. AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND FAIR MINDED PEOPLE OF ALL RACES, ENGAGED IN MASSIVE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE SERVED NOTICE ON THE NATION AND THE WORLD THAT THEY WOULD NO LONGER TOLERATE THE ABUSES OF AMERICAN RACISM. THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT HERALDED A NEW ERA IN OUR COLLECTIVE RESOLVE TO ADHERE TO THE PRINCIPLES OF “LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL”. / THIS MEMORIAL PARK IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY AND IN APPRECIATION FOR ALL WHO WAGED THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND SUBSEQUENT ADVANCEMENTS THEREAFTER. / THE MARTIN LUTHER KING CELEBRATION COMMITTEE, INC.
The City of Raleigh
April 4, 1997
35.768490 , -78.617280 View in Geobrowse
"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens," United States Civil Rights Trail, civilrightstrail.com, (accessed April 21, 2023) Link
"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Gardens," City of Raleigh, raleighnc.gov, (accessed April 21, 2023) Link
"Events Mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), January 13, 2012
"General Assembly of North Carolina, 1993 Session. Chapter 502, House Bill 1260," NCLeg.net, (accessed May 16, 2012) Link
"Like a Mighty River," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), April 5, 1997
"MLK Events Have Broad Appeal," The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC), January 12, 2011
Bronze statue, brick memorial wall, and granite water monument
The memorial garden was sponsored by the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee. The water monument was at least partly sponsored by donations from local Raleigh businesses, churches, and individuals.
$55,000 for the shrine for Civil Rights activists
The Raleigh Martin Luther King Celebration Committee came up with the idea to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the form of a memorial garden, which first opened in 1989. The Raleigh Martin Luther King Celebration Committee did not come into existence until North Carolina officially recognized Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a state holiday in 1987.
The Community Advocates for Parks in Southeast Raleigh, in association with the Martin Luther King Committee, requested to expand the gardens in late 2008 to include park benches and restrooms. On December 6, 2011 the city council approved a plan to expand the gardens to also include the creation of a Public Leadership Group. The PLG is currently in the process of planning for the expansion.
The sculptor, North Carolina native Abbe Godwin, has been recognized nationally for her work. Other sculptures by Godwin include Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Corpsmen Memorial, and the Peacekeeper statue at the Beirut Memorial.
It is located in the southwest quadrant of the intersection of Martin Luther King Blvd. and Rock Quarry Road.
The bronze statue is surrounded by trees and other greenery. The statue also stands on a flat, circular surface without a podium.
In recent years, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday has been honored at this site with a wreath-laying ceremony.
The Martin Luther King Commission was created in 1993 after a General Statute was passed by the Human Relations Commission of the N.C. Department of Administration. The commission provides organizations and government officials with help to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. The commission supports organizations like the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee financially with annual funding grants for assistance with projects and events honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy.
Land costs: $132,000; Memorial Garden expansion: $660,000-$825,000