Friday, August 26, 2011

Martin Luther King misquoted at Memorial

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial dedication for this weekend has been postponed because of Hurricane Irene.  However, the memorial is open, and the public can walk through it.  A few of us here at Penn Quarter Insider took that opportunity this week, and we liked the memorial, though we know it has been controversial for some time.

Around the edges of the memorial is a series of quotes from the great orator.  Most of these quotes have you standing back in awe at a man who transformed the world with language.

Except one.  The Washington Post reports that one of the quotes is wrong.  The quote at the memorial says "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."

Not only does this pluck words out of context, it doesn't even pluck them in the right order.  The Post contends that it makes Reverend King seem arrogant, a gross mischaracterization.

The actual quote is this: “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.”

That's a much different statement, and the consecutive words of the memorial's quote aren't even in it.  The full speech is available here.

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