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Jennifer Rosenberg

Martin Luther King Memorial's Misquote to Be Removed

By December 13, 2012

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Engraved on the side of the statue of Martin Luther King at the new memorial in Washington DC is the quote: "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness." Unfortunately, that is actually a paraphrase of a longer quote and some people believe the summation makes King look arrogant.

At first, the Department of the Interior had decided to replace the truncated quote with the full-length one, but that decision too had been controversial, with some thinking it would ruin the aesthetics of the monument. Thus, in a new decision announced on December 11, 2012, the Department of the Interior has decided the quote should be removed altogether.

However, since the monument is made of granite, one cannot simply erase the quote. Instead, a sculptor will have to chisel the quote out, which would make the side look blemished. To fix this, they will make striations on top of the quote to match the sides. Since those will be cut deeper than the rest of the striations on the side of the memorial, the rest too will have to be cut deeper.

This fix-it project is expected to begin in February 2013 and carry the hefty price tag of $700,000 to $900,000.


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