A controversially selected quote from Martin Luther King Jr. that appears in the recently unveiled memorial on the National Mall is getting an edit, proving that just because something is physically etched in stone doesn't mean it's figuratively so. The side of the memorial reads: "I was a drum major for justice peace and righteousness." But King's actual quote is:
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.
Notice the big "If," there. Critics of the monument ranging from The Washington Post editorial board to Maya Angelou pointed out that the extended quote reads very differently. "It should not be seen like he was so full of himself. Because he was not. He was a very humble man," said Angelou. Of course, with the monument debuted, dedicated, and of course, carved in stone, no one really thought anything would come of the complaints. But Rachel Manteufell, who wrote a column in the Washington Post in August protesting the misquote, writes today that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has asked the D.C. National Park Service to come up with a proposed change within 30 days. Count us pleasantly surprised. The news is a happy way to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Ken Salazar, if someone accuses you of being a drum major, you tell them you're just a drum major for historical justice!
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.