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Oakland immor­talizes ‘Champions for Humanity’

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Doves are released and bagpipes are played as artist Mario Chiodo (far left) unveils his "Champions For Humanity" monument in Oakland Friday. (Scot Tucker/SFBay)

Photos: Scot Tucker/SFBay

To literally touch greatness — and be reminded of the courageous struggles of our heroes — you can now hop off BART at 19th St. Oakland for a hands-on journey through history.

Created by artist Mario Chiodo, the “Remember Them: Champions for Humanity” memorial — installed in sections since September 2011 — celebrated its dedication Friday.

Cesar Chavez, Maya Angelou and Malcolm X were joined in the monument’s latest section by Harvey Milk, Nelson Mandela and Oakland’s Fred Korematsu, who pursued justice for Japanese-Americans interred during World War II his entire adult life.

Also added Friday was a wall of touchable likenesses meant to be explored the visually impaired.

Consultant and memorial contributor Gary Newell of the Lions Center for the Blind told the Oakland Tribune that, until he was able to touch the memorial, he didn’t know Malcolm X wore glasses:

“No one ever told me.”

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