- (Reuters/Jason Reed)
A new date has been set for the dedication ceremony of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., following its postponement in August due to Hurricane Irene.
The ceremony will take place on the National Mall on Oct. 16, and a formal announcement is expected this week, The Associated Press reports.
The dedication was planned to coincide with the 48th anniversary of King's "I Have A Dream" speech on Aug. 28, but organizers indefinitely postponed the event because of safety concerns regarding the high winds and rains from Irene.
The newly appointed date also marks the 16th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall. The mass march occurred in 1995 and attempted to inspire African-American men to improve their lives.
The 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner is featured with a stern gaze and crossed arms in the 30-foot memorial. Each side of the statue bears a wall inscribed with 14 quotations from King's writings and speeches.
King, murdered in 1968 in Memphis, Tenn., will be the first person of color to be honored with a memorial on the National Mall.
The King memorial sits in the company of other presidential monuments, like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
President Barack Obama had been scheduled to speak in August and is now slated for the new date, Ed Jackson Jr., the memorial’s executive architect, told AP.
Memorial foundation President Harry Johnson stressed the importance of the first black American president taking part in the dedication ceremony.
Thousands have already visited the site, which carries deep meaning for many.
"I feel like crying, but I don't want to," Jeffrey Tyler, a 16-year-old student at Cleveland's Lincoln West High School, told AP when he saw the memorial on Aug. 28.
"To see a black man up there, it made me feel really proud of myself," he added.