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MLK Memorial Will Open Early For District Residents

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D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, left, Harry Johnson, president of the National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc., second from left,  and Mayor Vincent Gray look at the wall at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall.
Patrick Madden
D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, left, Harry Johnson, president of the National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc., second from left, and Mayor Vincent Gray look at the wall at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall.

District residents will get a sneak peek at the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial later this month.

Nearly a week before the official dedication, the new memorial will be opened up exclusively to city residents.

Details of the August 23 event -- which is being called "D.C. Resident Day" -- are still being finalized by the city government, but Mayor Vincent Gray says residents will be able to apply for special passes online or in person at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library in downtown D.C.

The official dedication will be August 28 and city officials are expecting several hundred thousand people to attend.

Harry Johnson is president of the national memorial project foundation. He says the new memorial on the National Mall will be unique in a number of ways.

"The first memorial to a non-president. The first memorial to a man of color of this magnitude," says Johnson. "And then to put him between the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials ... 'location, location, location.'"

There are a number of other events planned, including a march for D.C. voting rights and ceremony to rename the roadway leading up the memorial.

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