Hundreds of people gathered Saturday at a haze-shrouded overlook that usually affords a sweeping view of the Los Angeles basin, to dedicate the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Tree Grove.
The 15,000-square-foot grove, at the highest point of he Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, features an obelisk that evokes memories of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Saturday’s gog and haze obscured distant landmarks, but not the vision and spirit passed on at the event.
“Today, we meet Dr. King at the mountaintop,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “I believe once you experience the Memorial Tree Grove here at the very top of Hahn Park, you will find few other spaces that so peacefully and so exquisitely facilitate reflection in his honor.
“There is no other individual who has inspired us, challenged us, and motivated us to create a world filled with more civility, equality and dignity,” Ridley-Thomas said.
Rev. James Lawson, who was with Dr. King on the day of his death, delivered the keynote speech at the dedication ceremony.
The grove’s sweeping vistas of downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood sign, and the mountains from Malibu to San Bernardino County will be a highlight of the 13-mile Park to Playa trail now under construction, slated to connect the beach to the Baldwin Hills by 2020.
A community organizer who worked to build the grove and trail, Mujeres de la Tierra founder Irma Munoz, spoke. “This magnificent memorial reflects the spirit and inspiration of the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
The Hahn Park is named after a county supervisor, who challenged the State Legislature to build a state park for inncer city residents at the site of an old oil field and the ill-fated Baldwin Dam, which washed out in 1963.
“Our department is honored that our urban jewel, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, was chosen to showcase a beautiful memorial overlooking Los Angeles that commemorates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said John Wicker, director of the county Department of Parks and Recreation.
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