It's tall (the centerpiece sculpture is 30 feet), expensive (the final cost is $120 million) and sprawling (the entire thing takes up four acres). The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, which will be unveiled on Aug. 28, might be epic in scale, but it's the latest in a long list of homages — large and small, official and unofficial, local and international — that have been created to honor the civil rights icon.
Captions by Lauren Williams
Statues of Martin Luther King Jr. pepper many major (and not-so-major) cities throughout the United States, but none of them are quite like this 9-foot one outside the Martin Luther King Plaza apartments. It depicts King as an African chief holding a Coptic cross and an Indian prayer wheel.
Westminster Abbey, England
When a portion of Westminster Abbey, the church where British royals have their coronations and weddings, was renovated in the '90s, statues of 10 modern martyrs were added above the west entrance. Martin Luther King and several other 20th-century heroes are honored on the wall.
Rocky Mount, N.C.
This statue was erected at the park in Rocky Mount where King delivered an early version of his "I Have a Dream" speech, removed and then installed again over the course of four years, because critics said the artist, who is white, didn't do King justice. What do you think?
The Rocky Mount folks might want to hire the artists at Madame Tussauds wax museum, who did a respectable-enough job of creating a likeness of America's hero. The lifelike statues of MLK can be found at the museum's London, Las Vegas, New York and Washington outposts.
The Centro Memorial Martin Luther King Jr. was founded in Havana in 1987 to teach King's message of nonviolence to clergy. A wall of the building that houses the center is emblazoned with a mural featuring King's face.
The Sydney suburb has a noted history of graffiti and street art. This MLK mural was painted in 1991 and connects King's message to the civil rights struggle of aboriginal Australians.
The White House, Washington
It might be a bit smaller than the city's new King memorial, but it's comforting to know that Barack Obama placed this small bust in the Oval Office — a constant reminder of the man and his message.
Like many memorials to King, the Portland statue, which sits outside the Oregon Convention Center, depicts King with other figures. This memorial, by artist Michael Florin Dente, features a young white man who represents the working class, a little girl who symbolizes the sacrifice that children make when their parents fight injustice and a young woman representing our nation's immigrants.
In this small Colorado town, King shares a memorial with Emmett Till, who was lynched in 1955 at the age of 14. The statue, which shows King with a protective arm around Till, sits outside the city's black-history museum.
There's something beautiful and raw about the murals — usually painted to memorialize someone — that often decorate the exterior walls of businesses and residences in urban areas. This MLK mural in South Central Los Angeles is notable because of the uncharacteristic expression on his face and the image of Memphis, Tenn.'s Lorraine Motel, where King was assassinated in 1968, in the background.
In Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood, a mural blends the flags of Haiti and the U.S. with an image of MLK.
Atlanta, where MLK was born and raised and worked, pays homage to its native son in many ways — from the statue at his alma mater, Morehouse College, to a striking memorial downtown. Most recently, the city unveiled a colorful, 125-foot mural painted by artist Louis Delsarte to honor King's memory.
It should come as no surprise that Harlem loves Martin Luther King. In this piece of Harlem street art, King shares the spotlight with Barack Obama, Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela.
King's image represents hope, perseverance, tolerance and … banks? A billboard advertisement for Kenya's Imperial Bank proves that MLK's face can pop up anywhere and everywhere.
Head to any major metropolis in America, and you're bound to come across a Martin Luther King Boulevard. But you might not be expecting to find a street named after the Baptist minister in Jerusalem. Wonders never cease …
King County, Wash.
Washington's King County — home to Seattle — was originally named after former Vice President William Rufus King, but in 1986 officials changed the county's namesake to Martin Luther King Jr. An image of the civil rights icon's face is now the county's official logo.