First Non President Honored On The National Mall

08.22.11 | Sarah Harnisch

   A 30-foot tall granite statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior was unveiled on the National Mall. He's the first person who's not a president-- to be honored with a major memorial there. The black civil right's leaders face is carved from the "Stone of Hope," a large, curved piece of granite inscribed with 14 quotations from King's sermons and speeches. The statue was 27 years in the making and at 11 this morning, the public got its first glimpse. On Thursday, it will be covered up again until August 28th, when the nation's first black president, Barack Obama, will be there for the official unveiling.  Some 250-thousand people will show up for that event. Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 at the age of 39. He'll be just feet away from a memorial dedicated to President Lincoln-- on the National Mall. It was the lincoln memorial that set the stage for his most famous speech-- 48 years ago-- a defining moment in the civil rights movement. One of the engravings on his monument reads, quote "we shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."