World's Coolest New Tourist Attractions
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President Obama is invited to speak at the August 2011 dedication of D.C.'s first nonpresidential memorial, which occupies several acres of the Tidal Basin. Visitors approach the site through a narrow channel of boulders called the Mountain of Despair, which opens to a larger plaza, meant to suggest the difficult challenge of civil rights. Inside the plaza, a crescent-shaped inscription wall is emblazoned with MLK's iconic sermons and writings. The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation has been the driving force behind the project for 15-plus years and enlisted architects from McKissack & McKissack, an African American, female-owned firm.