The so-called “drum major” quotation on the memorial of Martin Luther King, Jr. will be corrected, according to CNN. News of the change was first reported last week by the Washington Post. The line reads, “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” a loose paraphrase of a much longer statement from his 1968 sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta: “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 quotation upset poet Maya Angelou last summer, who believed the paraphrase made Dr. King sound arrogant. It is one of more than a dozen of Dr. King’s most famous words etched into the monument.
The memorial opened in August and has been visited by more than 2 million visitors since then. Crowds gathered this morning in honor of Dr. King’s birthday to lay a wreath at the foot of the monument.