Happy Birthday Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, January 15th, marks the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., born in 1929. It’s a federal holiday in the United States on Monday, January 17th. To commemorate, a look back when the Washington Square Arch was lit up with images of King commemorating the 50th anniversary of his assassination in 2018.

A look back at the 50th Anniversary of King’s assassination in 2018:

It will mark 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated tomorrow, April 4th. Last night, the Washington Square Park Arch was transformed to feature striking images of King projected onto its two marble columns facing into the park.

Musician and neighbor Richard Barone captured the image last night; he noted on Instagram: “Images of Dr. King projected on the #WashingtonSquareArch tonight. The Empire State Building peeks through the Arch dressed in deep electric blue.” The monument will be lit again tonight when the City of New York honors King with a public ceremony at 7:30 p.m., replaying an audio recording of his final speech, “I’ve been to the Mountaintop.” Mayor Bill de Blasio will officially “light” the Arch with First Lady Chirlane McCray. King was killed on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. The ceremony’s intent is to “remember [King’s] legacy and recommit to his vision of a better world.”

First Time Lighting on Arch was Switched was 2015 for Paris Attacks

The first time the lighting on the historic Arch was switched, at that time, to color from its traditional white was to honor people killed in the November 2015 Paris attacks which occurred on November 13th after a series of “coordinated terrorist attacks.” The Arch was lit in “three vertical stripes of blue, white and red,” colors of the French flag, the next two nights. The Washington Square Arch was modeled after Paris’s Arc de Triomphe .

It was not the first time lighting has been used for impact at the Arch, however. At the first tree lighting ceremony in 1924, and presumably for some years after, words to the Christmas carols were projected on the Arch.

Photo: Richard Barone

Previously at Washington Square Park Blog:

Images of Martin Luther King Jr. Projected on Washington Square Arch for 50th Anniversary of His Death April 3, 2018

How the White Lighting on the Arch Went Tricolor to Remember Paris Victims | First Time Lighting Switched in Monument’s History November 17, 2015

Washington Square Arch, Modeled After Arc de Triomphe, Will Shine French Flag Colors Again Tonight November 15, 2015

NYC Remembers Martin Luther King Jr. With Replay of Final Speech at Washington Square Park Tuesday April 2, 2018

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