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Thousands of people gathered at dawn Sunday to give the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial a proper dedication on the National Mall after its opening in August. Aretha Franklin, poet Nikki Giovanni and President Barack Obama will be among those honoring the legacy of the nation’s foremost civil rights leader during a ceremony scheduled to run more than four hours.

The monument to the slain civil rights leader was due to have been unveiled on August 28, the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington when King delivered his world-altering “I Have a Dream” speech, but Hurricane Irene forced the event to be postponed. Perhaps, said the Rev. Bernice King, one of King’s daughters, that postponement was due to divine intervention. “Perhaps God wanted us to move beyond the dream into action,” she said.

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