Thursday, September 8, 2011

Carved in Stone

Two months before his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr. told a congregation in Memphis, Tennessee about how he would like to be remembered upon his death:
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.
When selecting MLK quotations to inscribe on the granite walls that surround and make up the memorial, organizers decided to include the following paraphrased version of this quote: "I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness." It was inscribed on the Stone of Hope section of the memorial, which features King's statue.

Noted poet and author Maya Angelou, who was a friend of King, and The Washington Post last week criticized the paraphrased inscription and requested that officials correct it. This weekend, the memorial architect responsed that  there are no plans to fix the inscription.

This is another example of people not doing their homework. Would it have been so difficult to use the actual quote? It just goes to show how a simple error can call everything else into question.

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