D.C.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial erroneous quotation to be fixed

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- As Park Service employees fenced off the work area on Monday morning in Washington, D.C., Lei Yixin, the Chinese sculptor who created the MLK memorial, examined the work in preparation for a major erasure of words carved in stone.

Fencing went up around the inscription on Monday morning. Photo: John Lewis

The work began today in order to make these ten words will disappear: "I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness." It turns out, however, that these words were actually condensed from what Martin Luther King really said:

"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."

Carol Johnson of the National Park Service says, "We had actually approved the full quote and what happened is the artist thought that it was too long and that it might not look right, so the decision was made by the architect to shorten it."

Poet Maya Angelou has said that the shortened version makes King seem arrogant, though some of today’s visitors in the District disagree. While some think that the quote should be fixed, others were startled to learn tha the final decision is to have no quote there at all.

"I don't see the good in that," says Michigan resident, Jane Dobronos.

The idea is that the "Stone of Hope," which contains the King statue, was ripped from the mountain of despair, so all ripped marks must match up – something that is particularly important with the quote gone entirely.

 

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