10 Misleading Words to Be Wiped From MLK Memorial

At a cost of as much as $900K

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 12, 2012 8:04 AM CST

(Newser) – The truncated quote on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial that made the civil rights leader sound like, in Maya Angelou's words, "an arrogant twit," will be removed. Officials initially said that the quote—"I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness"—would be fixed, but now they've decided to remove it completely, the Washington Post reports. The full MLK quote, which actually came out of a sermon critiquing the "drum major instinct," is:

  • "Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter."

The inscription will be cut out and made to look like another of the horizontal "striations" or "movement lines" that currently make the memorial appear as if it's being pulled out of a granite mountain. But the executive architect says all of the existing striations will probably need to be deepened to match. And that'll cost as much as $900,000, paid out of a special memorial foundation fund. Officials wanted to include the complete quote on the memorial, but the architect—who initially refused to make any changes—says that would have looked like "a patch job."

This Jan. 15, 2012 file photo shows the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, with the quote carved on the side of new memorial in Washington that will be changed.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
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