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National Park Service To Correct Misquote At Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial


It won't happen overnight, or perhaps not even by the end of this year, but National Park Service officials are vowing to correct a misquote that's etched into the base of the "Stone of Hope" at the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, after meeting with members of the Civil Rights leader's family earlier this week, announced Friday that the paraphrased "Drum Major" quote on the memorial would be replaced with the full quote.

Observers and visitors to the new memorial have noted that a quote etched in the stone near the statue’s left shoulder is paraphrased from a passage in a sermon that Dr. King delivered at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1968. The paraphrased quote reads: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”

Under the plan announced Friday, that quote will be removed and replaced with the entire text of the exact quote as delivered by Dr. King: “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.”

“President Obama’s dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial was a proud moment for our country and a reminder of the continuing relevance of Dr. King’s dream of dignity, respect and justice for all,” said Secretary Salazar. “With a monument so powerful and timeless, it is especially important that all aspects of its words, design and meaning stay true to Dr. King’s life and legacy.”

“My Aunt Christine and I along with other family members want to thank Secretary Salazar and the National Park Service for their considerable efforts regarding the correction of the quote on the Monument in order as the Secretary put it ‘to make sure we get it right,’” said Bernice King, Dr. King’s youngest daughter. “As promised, the Secretary and the Park Service involved the family and other interested parties and have accomplished just that with the proposed correction by the Secretary.”

“Under the careful stewardship of the National Park Service, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will stand for all time,” said Director Jarvis. “Visitors 100 years from now will be inspired by his own words, and know how Dr. King’s leadership advanced the cause of civil rights for all Americans.”

The National Park Service expects that portions of the granite stones that carry the letters of the existing quote will have to be replaced. NPS is exploring a range of options to fund the correction -- reported estimates range up to $600,000 -- including philanthropic support.

Director Jarvis has set a goal of completing the work in time for the celebration of Dr. King’s birthday in January 2013. The full quote was previously approved by the Fine Arts Commission and other required entities during the design review process for the Memorial and therefore it does not need further review before advancing.

There was no word on who was responsible for approving the paraphrased quote.


Because of the revisionist fantasy world that some would like to support and spread ( I believe).

You see where they are correcting the words by MLK.  Whay are the not completing the words by FDR on the World War II monument. "so help me God"

Perhaps the apparently successful partnerships between National Public Radio and television networks and their corporate sponsors could serve as a model for future similar partnerships involving NPS.

Most important would be a careful look at exactly how those radio and TV stations shield themselves from undue corporate influence and are able to continue programming that is usually well-balanced and free of peddling and pandering for special interests.

RoadRanger, very insiteful and I believe correct in what you posted.  Breath of fresh air to hear, really!! 

Anonymous 9:03, I agree with Kurt on his two points:
removing the agency from the political arena is a key move and it will be an
extraordinary challenge to do so. I would add another point, that is, moving away from a reliance on federal funding by expanding our park partnership program, especially through long-term corporate partnerships. Granted such a move will present new challenges, but it will help free the NPS from its role as a political puppet. I would add one more position that could be taken on the inside regarding the environmental movement. When it began in the early '60s the movement had about it an altruistic core that was embraced pretty much across the board by the political spectrum. Today, the movement has been captured by the anti-capitalist, unhinged left that has been adrift since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although the NPS seems to have avoided open identification with the current movement, many of its employees are proud to identify themselves as part of the leftist elite and poised to ridicule those who are not in lockstep with their beliefs. This group needs to understand that there  are millions of centrists and
conservative environmental advocates - individual and corporate - who have supported the NPS mission in the
past and will continue to do so. Such an acknowledgement would be good for the health of the NPS and help it survive the political swings from left to right and back again that are likely in our future.

Anonymous, I've long thought key was removing politics from the equation. Do that either by giving the NPS director a six-year term, and have a non-partisan committee make his/her appointment. The crux, it seems, is to somehow shield that individual from political gamesmanship/pressures and let them truly act in the best interests of the system's natural, cultural, and historic resources. That'd be a good start.

But then, that's probably too idyllic, no?

I would like that to be understood, Kurt.  After saying that it shouldn't be accepted just because it happens on both sides of the isle.  When it becomes untenable the system has had precedures to correct things.  When that ability is diminished or what is growing more evident, directly under attack, it's not good and has many negative repercussions, I'm saying.  You've been a great moderator and have had a lot of experience around political circles, what would you suggest?  Where you at, Kurt?

Anonymous, politics is a very broad brush to wield. No one party can claim an exclusive right to "cronyism, abuse of power and procedures."

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