In preparation for the official dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in D.C. this Sunday, Attorney General Eric Holder gave a rousing speech at a luncheon, Thursday, honoring the civil rights leader.
It was a touching tribute to the legacy of MLK and the advances minorities have made in securing equal rights since the riots and unrest that characterized King’s heyday in the 1960s.
Holder’s speech, however, contained a rather large “but.”
“Now, despite all that has been achieved in recent years, the work of strengthening our nation and empowering all of our fellow citizens is incomplete,” said Holder.
“The challenges before us, and the divisions that, too often, separate too many of us from one another, have evolved over the years … And the time to act has never been more urgent,” he added.
Holder went on to say, “Now, let me be clear. It is obvious. We have not yet reached the promised land that Dr. King spoke of. Now, I say this fully aware of the fact that a direct beneficiary of the civil rights movement is now in the White House and that another direct beneficiary has the honor of leading our nation’s Department of Justice. But we are not yet where we need to be.”
He also called on attendees to seize the moment and re-dedicate themselves to the cause of racial and social equality.
The location of the MLK Memorial is along the tidal basin near the National Mall, almost exactly halfway between the Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson memorials. It features two massive stones forming a portal and a solitary stone with a carved-out image of Dr. King. The MLK Memorial will also include a 450-ft inscription wall.