Monday, January 16, 2012

Please Pass the, Um, Wite-Out?

(Photo Credit: Nikki Kahn, Washington Post, via)

Happy MLK Day, you lovely fighters for justice and accuracy in stone carving. We celebrate the occasion by noting that the department of the Interior recently announced that the badly truncated quotation chiseled into the side of the Martin Luther King memorial is going to be corrected. That is excellent news, because it suggests that some things actually are sacred and that government still can do -- and re-do -- big things when the occasion demands it. And, really, fixing a quotation so radically decontextualized that it made one of history's more modest men sound like "an arrogant twit," as Maya Angelou put it, is a big thing definitely worth doing. Raise the debt ceiling again if you have to, but please don't let generations of pilgrims to Washington walk away with the impression that Martin Luther King was a braggart.

Strike up the band, kids. On this day, let us all be drum majors for the exercise of bureaucratic common sense and the sanctity of public words. Here's to public history done -- or re-done -- right.


  1. that is awesome, although I did like some of the other quotes, particularly those that pointed to MLK more radical side, which tends to be "white washed."

  2. *Like* Was just at the monument the other day. Photos don't do it any justice.

  3. I'm glad too that that dumbass quotation is going to be removed and replaced with. . . what? A fuller version of the quotation, or will they replace it entirely?

    I agree that it made MLK Jr. sound both arrogant and dumb, and did a disservice to the whole memorial.

    You locals will have to keep us updated on what precisely will replace the old, twisted quotation.

  4. That is a really great news! Super!


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