Green Room

Disputed quote on MLK memorial to be removed

posted at 9:22 am on December 12, 2012 by

A fact-checker would have been helpful

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar endorsed a plan Tuesday to remove a disputed inscription from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, rather than cut into the granite to replace it with a fuller quotation.

Salazar said he had reached an agreement with King’s family, the group that built the memorial and the National Park Service to remove a paraphrase from King’s “Drum Major” speech by carving grooves over the lettering to match existing marks in the sculpture. Memorial sculptor Lei Yixin recommended removing the inscription this way to avoid harming the monument’s structural integrity.

Critics including poet Maya Angelou complained after the memorial opened in 2011 that the paraphrased quotation took King’s words out of context, making him sound arrogant. The paraphrase reads: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”

The full quotation was taken from a 1968 sermon about two months before King was assassinated. It reads: “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 MLK Memorial was made in China by a master sculptor living under a Communist regime whose other large-scale works include two sculptures of Mao Tse Tung. Blech. There was some controversy over that at the time, but not enough to change sculptors. The design for the memorial was at least conceived in California.

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Replace it with:

“Martin Luther King, Republican and proud of it”

right2bright on December 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Memorial sculptor Lei Yixin recommended removing the inscription this way to avoid harming the monument’s structural integrity.

Fun Fact, Lei Yixin makes Mao statues and one he likely(I say likely because the statue came from the same city as his studio) built was erected in Tibet as a “gift”.

http://blog.studentsforafreetibet.org/2006/03/the-bigger-they-come-the-harder-they-fall/

ninjapirate on December 12, 2012 at 9:37 AM

The design for the memorial was at least conceived in California.

Because that’s far better than communist China, right?

Mr. Prodigy on December 12, 2012 at 9:50 AM

2nd that right2bright
:)

cmsinaz on December 12, 2012 at 10:22 AM

The MLK Memorial was made in China by a master sculptor living under a Communist regime…The design for the memorial was at least conceived in California.

…under another Communist regime.

landlines on December 12, 2012 at 10:55 AM

The sculpture is distinctly Maoist, and doesn’t evoke the spirit of MLK at all, IMHO. I happen to know also that the original design had King facing the Jefferson Memorial to reflect the relationship of King’s Dream to the Declaration of Independence, but the sculptor worked off a negative, and reversed the direction, so now King is just staring off into the void instead. A real missed opportunity, and now we have a permanent memorial right on our national mall not to American freedom but to Chinese Communism.

Progressive Heretic on December 12, 2012 at 11:16 AM

And while they are at it, could they make him black & look less like Mao?

Blake on December 12, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Dr. Martin Luther Mao.

Blake on December 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Progressive Heretic on December 12, 2012 at 11:16 AM

I agree. Such an impersonal monument to a such a charismatic man. What a wasted opportunity.

Ted Torgerson on December 12, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Replace it with:

“Martin Luther King, Republican and proud of it”

right2bright on December 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM

I wish, but I don’t think so. From Martin Luther King’s Nobel Prize lecture, given December 11, 1964:

Another indication that progress is being made was found in the recent presidential election in the United States. The American people revealed great maturity by overwhelmingly rejecting a presidential candidate who had become identified with extremism, racism, and retrogression. The voters of our nation rendered a telling blow to the radical right. They defeated those elements in our society which seek to pit white against Negro and lead the nation down a dangerous Fascist path.

That doesn’t sound like a Republican to me. And, unfortunately, MLK didn’t live long enough to vote in the next presidential election — so Johnson vs. Goldwater was his last presidential election, and he definitely didn’t support the GOP that year.

J.S.K. on December 12, 2012 at 12:12 PM

That hideous communist memorial should be removed and shipped back to China – it is an insult to every thinking American.

Pork-Chop on December 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

That doesn’t sound like a Republican to me. And, unfortunately, MLK didn’t live long enough to vote in the next presidential election — so Johnson vs. Goldwater was his last presidential election, and he definitely didn’t support the GOP that year.

J.S.K. on December 12, 2012 at 12:12 PM

We can only wonder if MLK would have supported the bondage resulting from the democratic party’s continued support of teacher’s unions over school choice, and the rise of minority single parents as a result of warfare programs just to name two misguided democratic efforts.

STL_Vet on December 12, 2012 at 1:16 PM