15 Jan 2012

King memorial inscription to be changed

10:10 am on 15 January 2012

An inaccurate inscription on the Martin Luther King memorial in Washington DC is to be changed.

The quotation ''I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness'' was originally part of a longer sentence, but was inscribed out of context.

The Washington Post reports that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wants a new quotation found within 30 days. The nine meter granite statue was inaugurated in October 2011.

The BBC reports it was originally to have been opened in August, but the dedication ceremony was delayed by Hurricane Irene.

It is alongside the National Mall in Washington, not far from the spot on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Dr King delivered his famous ''I have a dream'' speech in 1963.

The report of Mr Salazar's decision comes as the United States prepares to mark Martin Luther King Day, which is a federal holiday on the third Monday in January, to mark the anniversary of his birth.

The memorial was designed by Master Lei Yixin, a Chinese sculptor, and overseen by an American architect, Ed Jackson.

He told the Washington Post in September 2011 that the decision to paraphrase the full quotation was made by the design team in the interest of brevity.

When the memorial was first unveiled, a Post columnist noted that the quote inscribed on the side of the edifice made Dr King sound ''conceited''.

Investigations into the origin of the quote revealed that the full sentence imparted a subtly different meaning.