For months, travelers arriving on flights to Washington D.C. have flocked to the National Martin Luther King. Jr. Memorial to pay their respects to the civil rights icon. But some visitors may have gotten the wrong impression of the humble King due to an incomplete quotation etched into the memorial’s granite.
The current inscription reads “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” a truncated quote that makes King sound like he was tooting his own horn. The full quote from King is actually “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.”
National Parks Service officials agreed last week to change the quote to better reflect its true meaning but not everyone is pleased with the move.
According to CBS News, the memorial’s architect claims that changing the inscription will damage it forever because new granite will be needed to fit the entire quote.
The new granite will not match the granite already used because of the unique way each stone ages. He’s hoping officials will come up with a new solution before his work is tarnished forever.
CC Flickr photo credit: Ron Cogswell