Harrisburg’ Best Kept Secret! The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is located on the Cameron Parkway East section of the Capital Area Greenbelt between 19th and 28th Streets. It is only reachable by the Greenbelt, which creates a peaceful setting, perfect for quiet reflection.
You may wonder why the memorial was not located in a prominent section of Harrisburg. It’s a very important inquiry. At the time, money was not available to purchase land in an ideal spot for the memorial. The property is owned by the city of Harrisburg and was made available by the city’s Parks and Recreation Director at no cost. The Capital Area Greenbelt Association took on the project to build the memorial.
The maintenance of the memorial is due in large part by the court-adjudicated youths from the Lutheran Church’s Diakon Wilderness Center and Dauphin County youths on probation, with the help of Greenbelt volunteers. The memorial celebrates the crusades Dr. King undertook to achieve social justice for African Americans in the United States.
The central feature of the site is the eleven foot jet black granite obelisk in the center of the memorial garden. It was imported from India and donated by an anonymous donor. Next to the monument is a kiosk featuring a copy of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech given in Washington, D.C. There are six granite slabs on each side of the entrance leading to the obelisk with the name of his twelve historic crusades.
A time capsule was developed during the 12 year long building of the memorial. It consists of a handmade miniature coffin containing a letter from then Mayor Linda Thompson. Also inside is a list of signatures of court adjudicated youth who signed a pledge never to speak the “N” word again. The miniature coffin was laid in the concrete base of the Memphis Crusade granite marker by Mayor Thompson at its installation ceremony.
The site also features six rows of different species of flowers, which bloom in the summer, on each side of the granite markers. Behind these rows of flowers is a solid row of arbor vitae trees. Two wreaths, one on the granite monument and one on the kiosk, are displayed on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in January.
Norman L. Lacasse
Stewart P. Robinson
Click here for information on Dr. King’s twelve crusades, which are memorialized at the monument.