WAMU 88.5 : News

Sculptor Removes 'Drum Major' Inscription On MLK Memorial

Play associated audio
The existing inscription will be replaced with grooves matching those already on the memorial.
Markette Smith
The existing inscription will be replaced with grooves matching those already on the memorial.

The controversial "drum major" inscription has been removed from the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial.

Lei Yixin, the master sculptor behind the memorial, says the controversy surrounding the paraphrased quotation did not surprise him, because all art provokes controversial discussion.

Lei will replace the "drum major" inscription with carved grooves matching other grooves already present on the sculpture. Critics said the inscription made King sound arrogant: "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."

The exact words, taken from a sermon Dr. King delivered in 1968 are: "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."

Lei says he still feels honored to be part of the project.

"Right now, the statue really looks good — he thinks Americans will not regret picking him as the sculptor of record," says Lei, speaking through his son.

The work, which the Park service says will be complete before the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, is costing somewhere between $700,000 to $800,000.

NPR

'Top Gear' Returns With New Hosts On BBC America

The massively popular BBC show, Top Gear, relaunches Monday on BBC America. Following the painfully public downfall of its former host, the new hosts have big gears to grind.
NPR

'Sweetbitter' Is A Savory Saga Of Restaurant Life And Love

Oysters, cocaine, fine wine, love triangles: Stephanie Danler's debut novel Sweetbitter follows a year in the life of a young woman working at a top-tier Manhattan restaurant.
WAMU 88.5

Ralph Nader: The Future Of The Progressive Movement In The D.C. Region

Iconic consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader joins us for a conversation about civic engagement, the role of the media, and the future of the progressive movement in the D.C. region.

WAMU 88.5

Hillary Clinton's Emails

Hillary Clinton is under pressure after a State Department report criticized her use of a private email server: what's in the report, potential security risks and whether it could affect Secretary Clinton's bid for the White House.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.