Tuesday, August 28 marks the one-year anniversary of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial unveiled by Pres. Obama in October of last year, but controversy surrounds the granite structure and it will not be resolved anytime soon.
A simple King quote is at the heart of the issue, and it appears it wasn't about minimizing the quote's significance as much as a need to shorten the quote due to size considerations of the memorial writings.
However, the King family met with the Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar, as they wanted the full quote text reflected, which will require extensive renovations.
As it currently stands, and has for the past year it has been on display to those who visited the site, it quotes King as saying, "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."
Poet Maya Angelou says that worded that way it makes King sound arrogant and the civil rights leader was nothing of the sort.
In comparison, the full text should read "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."
The memorial to the civil rights leader cost $120 million dollars according to the Washington Times, and it opened on August 28, 2011. It took more than two decades to plan, fundraise and build the final testament to the celebrated African-American man. Thus it seems odd that the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was ever erected without the full text quote being inscribed on the granite stones in the first place.