Maya Angelou complained – and stone gives way. Words on MLK Memorial to be fixed.


Just plain wrong. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Remember that cliché?  “It’s practically etched in stone.”  Meaning, fixed, immutable, can’t ever be changed.

Not so, when it comes to the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial on the National Mall.

Back in September, Maya Angelou kvetched about King’s words on the statue, saying it made King sound like “an arrogant twit.”  She was right. And she wasn’t alone:  Martin Luther King III told CNN: “That was not what Dad said.”

Here’s what’s one of the inscriptions, placed on one side of the statue says:

“I was a drum major for justice peace and righteousness.”

Here’s what King said on Feb. 4, 1968, two months before he was assassinated, in a sermon at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church about a eulogy that might be given in the event of his death:

“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.”

According to the Washington Post, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has given the National Park Service 30 days — because “things only happen when you put a deadline on it” — to consult with the King Memorial Foundation, family members and other interested parties and come up with a more accurate alternative.

“This is important because Dr. King and his presence on the Mall is a forever presence for the United States of America, and we have to make sure that we get it right,” Salazar said.

“Get out the chisel, Washington!” I wrote.  And believe it or not, they did.

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