It’s now set in stone: the incorrect “Drum Major” quote on the recently-dedicated Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will be fixed.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis announced Friday the paraphrased quote currently etched onto the statue on the National Mall will be removed and replaced with the full quote King actually said.
Salazar and Jarvis met with members of King’s family on Monday about the controversial mistake, which currently reads, “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”
In a sermon King delivered at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1968, he 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. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.” That quote will now be put on the statue in full.
The paraphrase drummed up controversy and anger after the memorial was unveiled, with poet Maya Angelou saying the quote made King seem like an “arrogant twit.”