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Storm-delayed King memorial dedication set for Sunday

The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is seen in Washington
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial is seen in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The scaled-back dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial is set to take place on Sunday, seven weeks after Hurricane Irene forced a postponement.

President Barack Obama will deliver the dedication address for the $120 million memorial to the slain civil rights leader.

Other speakers include civil rights activists Julian Bond, Democratic Representative John Lewis of Georgia, former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Gwen Ifill, a Public Broadcasting Service newscaster, will moderate the event, the foundation that spearheaded construction of the memorial said in a statement

The memorial covers four acres southwest of the National Mall on the Potomac River and has been open to the public since August 22. It features a 30-foot-high statue of King, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his fight against racial discrimination through nonviolent means.

King was killed by an assassin in 1968.

The dedication ceremony was originally scheduled for August 28, the 48th anniversary of King's "I have a dream" speech in Washington, but was delayed because of Hurricane Irene.

The postponement forced a downsizing of the event. Concerts and parties were called off and some celebrities, including actor Samuel Jackson, said they could not attend because of prior commitments.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Jerry Norton)