Dedication of MLK Memorial postponed by hurricane

A planned weekend dedication of the Martin Luther King Junior Memorial on the National Mall has been postponed until September or October as approaching Hurricane Irene dashed hopes of paying tribute to the late civil rights activist on the 48th anniversary of his "I Have a Dream" speech.

Executive architect Ed Jackson Junior told The Associated Press in an email statement that the hurricane bearing down on the East Coast had forced the postponement of the dedication originally planned for 11 a.m. Sunday. President Barack Obama was to have been one of the scheduled speakers at beside the King sculpture erected on a 4-acre site in the nation's capital.

Harry Johnson, the president of the foundation that built the memorial, said at a subsequent news conference that he decided Thursday afternoon to postpone the dedication after studying the weather forecasts indicating Irene would potentially make weather conditions unsafe for visitors. He also said a Saturday black-tie gala event also has been postponed.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)