Having marched in Dr. King's Poor People's Campaign in 1968 we were particularly interested in seeing this memorial and we were not disappointed when we visited several years ago.
The grounds of the memorial overlook the Tidal Basin and just beyond one can see the Jefferson Memorial on the other side of the Basin.
A huge statue of Dr. King gazes across the memorial plaza and out toward the water. Dr. King stands here as we remember him: solid, resolute, determinedly serious and bigger than life. Behind the stature are two more stone structures (as Dr. King himself is carved out of a huge piece of stone) and on either side of these three pieces, curved walls envelop the visitor in quotes from Dr. King's speeches and writings.
Drawing on its location at the edge of the Tidal Basin, water is used as an essential element that builds on King's words and recalls most powerfully the theme of justice. The water appears only on either side of the main entry, not even visible until one has entered the memorial plaza. It is the sound of water “rolling down” that draws visitors' attention. From this life-giving source, Dr. King’s message begins stretching away from the entrance, at once welcoming and yet daring the visitor to follow.
Put this near the top of you "must see" list when you visit our nation's capital!