Memorial Design & Concept
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza
The park’s concept is a graded path progressing from the entrance up to the reflective wall with a gentle descent toward the city, signifying how Dr. King made the way easier for all. The perimeter walkway forms a ring around the main path where shade trees and seating permit visitors time for reflection and contemplation of the quotes by Dr. King on the walls. The amphitheater-style setting is an outdoor church intended for renewal of the spirit.
The visual centerpiece of the memorial is the bas-relief on the wall, created by world renowned sculptor Ed Hamilton. Titled The Unfinished March, it remembers the many marches that Dr. King led. The intent is to inspire the community that the journey has not ended, to empower one to take their place in the march and to continue
The plaza recognizes not only the life and contributions of Dr. King but also the countless Americans who struggled and sacrificed to achieve the vision he articulated so powerfully. This is a civic spaced with the power to connect, and the sculpture will tell inspiring stores about the achievements of Dr. King, about the nation’s history and about the power of individuals to change its arc.
(Inscription under the image in the upper left)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was an American pastor, activist, humanitarian and leader best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian belief. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established as a federal holiday in 1986. Hundreds of streets in the United States have been renamed in his honor including a portion of 25th Street in Newport News as Martin L. King, Jr. Way. Likewise, numerous memorials have been created across the land to recognize is achievements.
(Inscription under the image in the lower left)
Dr. King with
(Inscription under the image in the upper center)
The park was designed by Mahan Plylcial Landscape Architecture, Urban Design & Planning. Approximate cost of the memorial plaza was $1 million.
(Inscription beside the image in the upper center)
Dr. Bernice A. King speaks at the plaza’s groundbreaking ceremony September 11, 2010. Over the years, several members of the King family have visited the city as part of events commemorating black heritage.
(Inscription below the image in the lower center)
The Unfinished March-The simple but courageous act of walking, an iconic action of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, gave visible, undeniable presence to the demands that his nation honor its ideals of freedom, justice and opportunity for all citizens.
Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chastening rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet, Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
From Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Charity & Public Work. In addition, it is included in the Martin Luther King, Jr. series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 17, 2014.
Location. 36° 58.874′
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. King Comes to Newport News (a few steps from this marker); Newport News Pays Tribute (a few steps from this marker); Crusader for Legal Justice (within shouting distance of this marker); James A. Fields House (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named James A. Fields House (about 700 feet away); Gregory Cherry (about 700 feet away); Ella Fitzgerald (approx. 0.2 miles away); Jessie Menifield Rattley (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newport News.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 1, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 277 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 1, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.