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Martin Luther King Jr. Pilgrimage Plaza

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This page is part of my 1999 entry for an international competition for the design of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.

The labyrinth surrounding the monument of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is based on the labyrinth of Chartres Cathedral, France, dating back to the 12th century Crusades. Those who could not pilgrimage to the Holy Land walked the labyrinth to symbolize their inward journey. The walking of this labyrinth will forever symbolize the long journey to Civil Rights Freedom, where Rev. King's inspiration continues to lead into the future of human values.

The walking lanes are 3'-3" wide, allowing wheelchair access for those wishing to share the pilgrimage, and allowing comfortable two-way foot traffic for those entering their journey and for those returning.

In celebration, hundres of people may walk the labyrinth, a choir on stage singing "We Shall Overcome," converging on the center to share triumph with the man and his message: We ARE the movement.

The stage, providing space for a full choir and accompanying orchestra or band, is 100' in diameter.

Four entrances into Pilgrimage Plaza (200' in diameter) allow thousands of people to congregate and share common ground with the spirit of a man who changed history forever. It is here we converge from the four corners of the earth to honor the man as well as each of us who must carry The Dream to future generations: the dream of Hope, Love, Freedom, and Dignity for all.

The centerpiece is a roset reflecting pool with an etched glass portrait sculpture of Dr. King, forever looking to the future.

The Chartres Cathedral-inspired labyrinth was adorned on the perimeter circuit (lane) with half-circles (lunations), 28 per quadrant, representing the 28-day cycle of the moon. Here they become memorial benches, each with a plaque in the name of individuals or families who fought the nonviolent battle for Civil Rights, forever sharing their place in history with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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