Obama: King 'stirred our conscience'

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has returned to the National Mall -- a symbol of the change he galvanized.

Dedicating a monument to King, Obama, who was 6 when King was assassinated, credits him with helping to pave his way to the White House as the nation's first black president.

The president said that King "stirred our conscience" and made the Union "more perfect."

Crowds began at dawn to crowd onto the memorial site, just to the southeast of the steps where King delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. Designed as what King described as a stone of hope hewn from a mountain of despair, the memorial is the first to a black man on the National Mall and its parks.