MLK Memorial Turns One

It is emerges from the “ Stone of Hope” and stands strong and tall against the backdrop of the National Mall, a memorial to a man who gave his life in the quest for equality.

A year after the granite memorial honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was unveiled, an estimated 2 million people have viewed it. Travelers visit regularly from all areas of the world. There have been reunions, proposals, prayer vigils and gospel concerts at the site.

Most visitors marvel at the majesty of the $120 million memorial, but there have been complaints about the severity of King’s expression and the inaccuracy of the wording carved into the statue.

The wording is derived from King’s “Drum Major Instinct” sermon, which was delivered in February 1968, less than two months before he was assassinated. “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” the statue says.

King’s actual words were: “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.”

Authorities said they expect the wording to be changed later this year to accurately represent King’s statement.

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MLK Memorial Turns One


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