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Places (POIs) visited during this tour

Place #1
Distance: 0.00mi , Attraction : MLK Memorial Bookstore
Map Pin
121 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20418, USA
POI 1 Tour Image
Your tour begins here!
Welcome to the Tidal Basin! Share experience with friends & family #historicamericatours TAG LIKE SHARE. :: We appreciate your support! Enjoy the tour!
Welcome to the Tidal Basin! My name is Rachel and I’m the Professional History nerd that will accompany you today as we embark on our monumental journey here in the capital of the United States. Our tour today includes a number of national memorials and some incredibly iconic views from the Southwest end of America’s front yard, our National Mall. No matter what mode of transit you used to get to here, you should be standing at the intersection of West Basin Drive and Independence Avenue in West Potomac Park. There’s a small gift shop, information center, and restrooms behind you as you face the entrance to the Martin Luther King Junior Memorial. When you’re ready to start your guided walk, cross the street and meet me in the center of the entryway to King’s memorial, inside the plaza within the low granite walls. Don’t pass through the two large granite peaks just yet, I’ll give you a little more information before we explore the memorial itself. See you soon!

Place #2
Distance: 0.87mi , Attraction : Entryway to the MLK Memorial
Map Pin
121 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20418, USA
POI 2 Tour Image
The Mountain of Despair
We’re about to enter the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. A more recent addition, the Basins landscape; it opened to the public in 2011. This 4-acre space honors King’s message of pacifism and speaks to the ongoing struggle for racial equality and economic justice that the United States continues to grapple with today.
King was an African American born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929. In a world where reconstruction had failed and Jim Crow was the law of the land, King rose to become one of the best-known social activists in American history. He spoke out against racial prejudices and sought to end legalized segregation through peaceful protest. Like his father before him, and his father’s father before that, he graduated from Morehouse College and went on seminary. He was a pastor, and used this platform to embrace his calling to activism.
King was a driving force behind watershed events such as the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, helping shape and materialize landmark legislation like the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. He was a great orator and gave hundreds of speeches in his lifetime, but is best remembered for one he gave right here in DC, the “I have a Dream” speech.
Clashes between unarmed black protestors and white police with attack dogs, water hoses, and worse generated headlines around the world and momentum was building for a mass protest, this one in the Nation’s capital. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was organized to shed light on the outrageous injustices faced by African Americans across the country. With the reluctant endorsement of President Kennedy, a crowd of 250,000 gathered on the National Mall. Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial—a monument to a president credited as the Great Emancipatory and closely associated with the abolishment of slavery in the United States—King shared his vision for the future. It was a spirited call for equality, he described a world where people would be judged on the content of their character, not the color of their skin. He knew all too well the tremendous amount of change necessary to make his vision reality, but with faith he said, “we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”
We’re looking at physical manifestation of those words. In front of you, is the mountain of a despair, the gap in the center, is where a “Stone of Hope” has been hewn from the mountain. Reinforcing this motif, notice that both the mountain and the stone bare scrape marks, scars that symbolize both struggle and movement. On the basin facing side of the stone of hope, we’ll find a carving of Dr. King, gazing into the horizon. You may now pass through the mountain of despair, and I’ll meet you at the base of the King’s sculpture, the stone of hope.

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Tour itinerary stops | Additional places you'll see on this self-guided tour

Map Pin Place 1 Your tour begins here!
Map Pin Place 2 The Mountain of Despair
Map Pin Place 3 The Stone of Hope
Map Pin Place 4 Towards Justice
Map Pin Place 5 From MLK to FDR
Map Pin Place 6 Almost to FDR!
Map Pin Place 7 Bookstore Entrance
Map Pin Place 8 The Prologue Room
Map Pin Place 9 The First Term
Map Pin Place 10 The Second Term
Map Pin Place 11 The Third Term
Map Pin Place 12 FDR & Fala
Map Pin Place 13 The Fourth Term & The First Lady
Map Pin Place 14 The Four Freedoms
Map Pin Place 15 The Japanese Pagoda...and other gifts!
Map Pin Place 16 The Inlet Bridge
Map Pin Place 17 Hello, Virginia! (from the Inlet Bridge)
Map Pin Place 18 The Forgotten Founder
Map Pin Place 19 Take the high road!
Map Pin Place 20 The Snack Shack
Map Pin Place 21 Almost there!
Map Pin Place 22 The Man
Map Pin Place 23 The Memorial

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