Is There Controversy Surrounding the Martin Luther King Monument?

Controversy surrounded the unveiling of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington, D.C., due to reactions to a quote inscribed on the statue. Late poet and civil rights leader Dr. Maya Angelou and other critics felt that the inscription made Dr. King sound arrogant.

The controversial inscription read, "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness." Opponents argued that this was shortened and paraphrased, and lost its true meaning when taken out of context in a direct quote. The inscription was removed in 2013 by the monument's original artist, sculptor Master Lei Yixin. Taxpayer dollars were not used to make the repairs to the statue.

Situated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. monument sits between the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial. This places the memorial within clear view of where King's "I Have a Dream Speech" was given in August 1963. The monument has added historical significance because it is the first monument on the National Mall to be erected that does not honor a white man, a president or a war. It is estimated that 5.2 million people visited the memorial in its first year, making it a popular addition to the area.