The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is an engaging landscape experience adjacent to other landscapes and monuments on the National Mall, not as a single object or memorial dominating the site. The composition of the memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey four fundamental and recurring themes throughout Dr. King's message: justice, democracy, hope and love. The semicircular geometry of the memorial, juxtaposed within the triangular configuration of the site, engages the Tidal Basin and frames views to the water.
The main entrance through the crescent-shaped inscription wall is aligned along the axis of the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, placing this memorial directly in line with the larger democratic ideals that form the context for King's words and deeds. The memorial is envisioned as a quiet and receptive space, yet at the same time, powerful and emotionally evocative, reflecting the spirit of the message Dr. King delivered and the role he played in society.
The King Memorial is intended to be personally transformative for visitors, building a sense of commitment to the promise of positive change and active citizenship. Drawing from Dr. King's own rich metaphorical language, the themes of "the Man, the Movement and the Message" are intertwined into a larger experience of place.