Changes made to Martin Luther King Memorial ahead of anniversary

Fri Aug 16, 2013 8:46pm EDT

A tourist takes a picture of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington February 22, 2013. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

A tourist takes a picture of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington February 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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(Reuters) - A sculptor has removed a phrase from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial that some said made the civil rights leader sound arrogant and the statue will be ready for observations of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, the New York Times said.

Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin removed the inscription from the 30-foot statue and made the necessary repairs to the memorial, the Times said. The pale granite memorial of the civil rights leader was sculpted by Lei and unveiled in 2011.

Lei had paraphrased a King quote for an inscription on the monument - "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness." Concerns arose that the quotation was out of context and made King sound egotistical.

The full quote, taken from a 1968 sermon delivered two months before King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, was: "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."

Thousands of people are expected to gather in Washington during the next two weeks to commemorate the peaceful March on Washington led by King and other civil rights leaders on August 28, 1968. After the march, King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech calling for racial unity.

King was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize and the leader of the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1950s and '60s.

(Reporting By Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (4)
dasAardvark wrote:
Lest you be confused, or led astray by the Left, Martin Luther King was a life-long Republican and did not belong to the Liberals or the Democratic Party. He, like Republican’s from Lincoln’s time fought for true equality and the removal of the enslaving chains of Liberalism. All of the evils of racism that still plague us today are the legacy of the Liberals and the Democratic Party. Wake up, America!

Aug 16, 2013 10:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
tpvero wrote:
It is odd to me this sculpture commission went to a Chinese artist. There are no African American sculptors that would have been more in tune with Mr King culturally? The work is dramatic and good, but to me it reflects the art and culture of China more than it does America. It looks like a statue of Mao with the head of Mr King on it. They chose white stone for the image of an African American? Why would that be correct? The face and hands should be the appropriate color bronze at least.

Aug 17, 2013 7:29am EDT  --  Report as abuse
kbill wrote:
He seemed egotistical to me, and he certainly was narcissistic…but let’s rewrite history, and in doing so we can fix the flawed man at a time when “color” in America can do no wrong.

Aug 17, 2013 12:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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