The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

See how the memorial to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. evokes his memory -- and honors his messages of justice, hope, love and democracy.

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A Washington, DC, landmark, Ben's Chili Bowl has been serving locals half-smokes and chili fries since 1958, when it was a hub for luminaries such as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Martin Luther King Jr., and more. 960 1280

  

True Reformer Building, built in 1902 by John Anderson Lankford, DC's first registered black architect. The building now sports a mural of Duke Ellington, and was the former location of the African American Civil War Museum. 960 1280

  

In the 1950s, "Black Broadway" included Lincoln Theatre, which today hosts theatre, dance and comedy shows. 960 1280

  

Washington, DC's "U Street" neighborhood has been revitalized in recent years, and continues to be a center of African-American history and culture. 960 1280

  

Established in 2005, Busboys and Poets was named for poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy at the nearby Wardman Park Hotel. Busboys strives to be not just a restaurant/bar, but also "a community gathering place for artists, activists, writers, thinkers and dreamers." 960 1280

  

The U Street district is a neighborhood of diverse cultures, with a mix of new businesses and restaurants operating amid the historic sites and flavors of the area's past. 960 1280

  

"Black Broadway" was marked by the day's big jazz luminaries: Duke Ellington (who was born in DC's west end), Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong and Pearl Bailey all played its clubs. 960 1280

  

The African American Civil War Memorial, the only national memorial commemorating African-American troops in the Civil War, bears these words by Frederick Douglass: "Better even to die free than to live slaves." 960 1280

  

Spontaneous celebrations erupted all over Washington, DC, when President Barack Obama was declared the winner of the 2008 presidential election. U Street was the center of it with crowds dancing in the streets, at bus stops and even on top of cars. 960 1280

  

"The Alchemy of Ben Ali" mural, located on the side of Ben's Next Door, shows a portrait of the Alis (founders of the landmark, Ben's Chili Bowl) alongside images of a protest and a butterfly, which depicts the transformation of the area through the years. 960 1280

  

Bohemian Cavern, a restaurant and jazz club dating back to 1926 where John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and Miles Davis played, continues to be the spot for jazz in DC. 960 1280

  

Cherry blossom trees are in full bloom at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, pictured here with the Jefferson Memorial in the background. 960 1280

Alex Wong/Getty Images  

Tourists admire cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. 960 1280

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images  

A man lifts his baby daughter into the air near the base of the Washington Monument during the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Embassy of Japan Cherry Blossom Princess, Tomoko Shiojiri, lights a Japanese stone lantern during a ceremony as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. 960 1280

Alex Wong/Getty Images  

Cherry blossom balloons are carried along the parade route on Constitution Avenue. Various cultural groups, marching bands, floats and balloons are featured in the annual event. The festival started in 1935 and today, more than a million people visit Washington, DC, each year to admire the blossoming cherry trees and attend events in the 16-day festival.  960 1280

S Pakhrin [Flickr  

People walk a bike at the Tidal Basin under the cherry blossoms, with the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the background. 960 1280

Getty Images  

The Washington Monument can be seen through the branches of cherry trees along the tidal basin. The National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo giving 3000 cherry trees to the city of Washington in 1912. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Cultural groups perform in the Sakura Maturo street festival on Pennsylvania Avenue following the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival parade. 960 1280

The Washington Post / Getty Images  

Traditional Japanese dancers prepare backstage before a performance in Washington, DC, as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. 960 1280

Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images  

Batala, the all-woman percussion ensemble performs at the Sylvan Theater on the grounds of the Washington Monument during the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC.  960 1280

thisisbossi [Flickr, [CC-NC-SA-2.0   

Rosario Ponte of Alexandria, VA, photographs the cherry blossoms that circle the Tidal Basin as the trees begin to bloom April. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a celebration to commemorate the 1912 gift of 3,000 Yoshino cherry trees from Japan. 960 1280

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images  

Tourists walk by the Tidal Basin to get the best view of all the cherry blossoms. 960 1280

Mark Wilson / Hulton Archive / Getty Images  

Cabin Replica Dollywood

Cabin Replica Dollywood

Childhood Cabin
“Back through the years … I go wonderin’ once again … back to the seasons of my youth.” Dolly grew up “dirt poor,” one of 12 children. But her childhood in a 1-bedroom Tennessee cabin was rich with music. Both of Dolly’s parents belonged to a Pentecostal church, and Dolly often performed spiritual songs as a kid. Relive that world in this cabin replica at Dollywood.
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Cabin Replica - Courtesy of Dollywood  

Ryman Auditorium

Ryman Auditorium

Ryman Auditorium
The day after she graduated high school, Dolly headed to Nashville, America’s country music capital. At Ryman Auditorium (the Grand Ole Opry’s home at the time), Dolly got this advice from Johnny Cash: “Go where your heart takes you.” Dolly poured her heart into songs like “Love and Learn.”
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Thinkstock  

Grand Ole Opry

Grand Ole Opry

Grand Ole Opry
By her early 20s, Dolly had already made 2 studio albums and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry’s roster of singing legends. More than 40 years later, Dolly remains an active member and performs here several times a year.
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Joe Shlabotnik, flickr  

Austin, TX

Austin, TX

Austin, TX
This much fun couldn’t be legal! In 1982, Dolly headed to Austin, TX, for movie-making magic. As “Miss Mona,” Dolly won the heart of local sheriff Ed Earl (played by Burt Reynolds) in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
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Thinkstock  

Dolly Parton walk of fame star

Dolly Parton walk of fame star

Hollywood Walk of Fame
Speaking to her crossover appeal, Dolly got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984. By then, Dolly had already starred in the mega-hit 9 to 5 as secretary-hero Doralee Rhodes, who tells her boss, "I'm gonna change you from a rooster to a hen with one shot!” Dolly also sang the movie’s title song, which was No. 1 on the Billboard charts for 2 weeks.
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Pamla J. Eisenberg, flickr  

Natchitoches, LA

Natchitoches, LA

Natchitoches, LA
In 1989, Dolly starred in another smash-hit film, Steel Magnolias, which was filmed here, in Natchitoches, LA. As beauty salon owner Truvy Jones, Dolly offers tell-it-like-it-is, one-liners: “Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.”
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Louisiana Office of Tourism   

Dollywood’s Splash Country

Dollywood’s Splash Country

Dollywood’s Splash Country
Dolly’s pride in her east Tennessee roots has enriched her local community. In 1986, Dolly opened Dollywood, which is now the No. 24 theme park in the US and employs 3,000 people -- including many senior citizens. Among its attractions is Splash Country waterpark (pictured here), which opened in Pigeon Forge, TN, in 2001.
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Dollywood  

Tour bus

Tour bus

Dolly’s Tour Bus
When this tour bus was built for Dolly in 1994, it cost an impressive $750,000. Step inside, at Dollywood, and be amazed: 2 bathrooms, a full bath and shower, plus 3 other beds -- now that’s traveling in style.
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Dollywood  

Eagle Mountain Sanctuary

Eagle Mountain Sanctuary

Eagle Mountain Sanctuary
The beauty of her native Tennessee has inspired many of Dolly’s songs, so it’s only fitting that Dolly is a big conservationist. Since 1994, Dollywood has been home to a 30,000-square-foot aviary, which houses America’s largest presentation of non-releasable bald eagles.
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Dollywood  

Dixie Stampede

Dixie Stampede

Dixie Stampede
Mega-music star, hit-movie actor … and powerhouse business leader. Dolly has invested much of her earnings into business ventures -- with direct benefit to local communities. Here’s Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede dinner theater in Branson, MO, which employs nearly 300 local people.
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Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction   

Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Hall of Fame
The “Queen of Country Music” officially got her crown in 1999, with her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. That night, with her brother and sister cheering her on, an emotional Dolly thanked many people, including “Mr. Grand Ole Opry,” Porter Wagoner.
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Tim Hursley  

Songwriters Hall of Fame

Songwriters Hall of Fame

Songwriters Hall of Fame
Dolly wrote her first song at the age of 5. Through the years, her songs have been covered by many other big names, from Whitney Houston (“I Will Always Love You”) to Bob Dylan (“Jolene”). Some 3,000 self-penned songs later, Dolly was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001.
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WireImage.com / M. Sullivan  

Kennedy Center

Kennedy Center

Kennedy Center
“Dolly has a way of making everyone feel like they’re the only one in the room.” In 2006, country singer Reba McEntire introduced her friend Dolly Parton, who was being honored at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for her prolific songwriting … and a “voice that can bring you joy and hope when it isn’t breaking your heart.”
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Thinkstock  

Dolly Parton on Broadway

Dolly Parton on Broadway

Broadway
These days, Dolly is Broadway-bound. The singer’s rise from backcountry girl to country music superstar is now being developed into a Broadway musical. And Dolly’s writing it. This won’t be her first foray into the big lights of Broadway. In 2009, 9 to 5: The Musical debuted.
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Getty Images   

Dixie Stampede

Dixie Stampede

Pirates Voyage
Dolly loves Myrtle Beach, SC, too. After operating as Dixie Stampede for years, Dolly’s dinner theater attraction here was renamed Pirates Voyage Fun, Feast & Adventure in June 2011. Locals showed their love of Dolly’s continued support by declaring June 3, 2011, Dolly Parton Day.
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Dollywood  

Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains
“Oh, these Northern nights are dreary, and my Southern heart is weary … the Smoky Mountains memories keep me strong,” Dolly once sang. Beyond song, Dolly showed her support for the mountains she loves when she joined Tennessee leaders in rededicating the Smoky Mountains National Park, on its 75th anniversary, in 2009.
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BlackburnPhoto, flickr  

Dolly Statue Sevierville

Dolly Statue Sevierville

Dolly Statue
So, in a career that’s garnered her 10 Country Music Association awards, 2 Academy Award nominations, 45 Grammy Award nominations and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award … what is the one honor that Dolly cherishes the most? This statue outside the Sevierville, TN, courthouse. Because, she’s said, it came from the people who knew her best.
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Tennessee Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitors Bureau