The Most Beautiful Civil-Rights Monuments in America

On August 28th, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed the social landscape of the U.S. with his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech. In the wake of his achievements, we see modern champions of freedom taking their cues from Dr. King, organizing everything from peaceful marches for gender equality to forming organizations that fight daily for our freedoms. Today, on Dr. King’s namesake holiday, we remember the sacrifice and the struggle of the movement this man led and continue his legacy of peaceful change. Let these 9 monuments serve as a reminder that any individual can effect change for the betterment of others.

Photo: Getty Images

Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument – Birmingham, Alabama

Created as a memorial to the protests carried out across Alabama as part of the initiative called “Project C”, this stunning monument serves as a reminder of the violent attacks on freedom. The sculpture depicts attack dogs emerging from stone which surround visitors as they walk through the monument, recreating the terror that protesters felt.

Photo: Getty Images

The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial – Richmond, Virginia

Unveiled by Tim Kaine in 2008, the Virginia Civil Rights Monument depicts 16-year-old Barbara Johns who boldly led a strike on her high school protesting it’s inadequate learning facilities for African-American students. This brave act eventually led to the 1954 decision on Brown vs. The Board of Education, which ended segregation in schools.

Photo: Getty Images

“Landmark for Peace” Memorial in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park – Indianapolis, Indiana

Standing proudly in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, the “Landmark for Peace” memorial depicts Dr. King and Robert Kennedy reaching out to each other, commemorating Robert Kennedy’s famous speech, given on the day of Dr. King’s assassination, in Indianapolis. While riots broke out around the country ignited by the news of his death, Robert Kennedy was urged to forgo his scheduled speech. Instead Robert Kennedy used this opportunity to highlight the inequalities that divided this country.

 
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Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial – Washington, D.C.

This 30-foot statue carved in King’s likeness looks as though it was thrust from the two large pieces of rock behind King, symbolic of the Mountain of Despair, mentioned in his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, and the Stone of Hope.

Photo: Getty Images

The Civil Rights Memorial – Montgomery, Alabama

This beautiful granite monument celebrates 40 individuals killed between 1954 and 1968 who fought for equality during the Civil Rights Movement. A steady stream of water encompasses the engraved names of these individuals, as artist Maya Lin was inspired by the healing properties of water.

Photo; Getty Images

Arthur Ashe Monument – Richmond, Virginia

As the only African-American man to win at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, Arthur Ashe was an activist for equality both socially and in his sport. He was also the first, and only, African-American man to be ranked number one in the world in tennis.

 
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