Kingdom Come

Washington welcomes a grand monument to Martin Luther King Jr.

David Allee for TIME

In 1984, five members of the college fraternity Alpha phi Alpha put forward the idea of building a fitting monument in the nation's capital to one of their departed brothers: Martin Luther King Jr. Twenty-seven years and $120 million later, they have one.

We all do. Though it lacks both the radical imagination and the profound simplicity of Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the new Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is the most effective monument to appear in Washington since Lin's brilliant reinvention of the form in 1982. As a work of art, the stiffly modeled sculpture of King at...

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