Cliff Owen/AP Photo
Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial (file)
What would MLK think about Occupy Wall Street? President Obama drew parallels between the slain civil rights leader and the OWS movement during Sunday's dedication ceremony at the new Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in D.C.
Obama honored Dr. King's legacy of fighting for equality and justice using peaceful resistance and civil discourse as a way to make a difference. And he suggested these lessons are timeless.
"If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there; that the businessman can enter tough negotiations with his company's union without vilifying the right to collectively bargain," Obama said during the ceremony, which drew a crowd of thousands. "He would want us to know we can argue fiercely about the proper size and role of government without questioning each other's love for this country."
Obama also encouraged Americans to continue King's tradition, perhaps best immortalized in his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech, while addressing the country's current challenges.
"Let us draw strength from those earlier struggles," Obama said. "Change has never been simple or without controversy."
Members of King's family, poet Nikki Giovanni, Stevie Wonder, former Mayor of Atlanta Andrew Young and civil rights leaders Jesse Jackson and MSNBC host, Rev. Al Sharpton attended.
The granite monument proudly stands between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials on the National Mall.