08/28/2012 10:12 am ET Updated Aug 28, 2012

MLK Memorial 'Arrogant' Inscription Fix Remains Unsettled (PHOTOS)


WASHINGTON -- When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ordered the National Park Service to correct a controversial inscription on the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in January, he gave the agency one month to come up with a plan to fix the problem.

In February, the NPS announced it would correct the out-of-context quotation from the slain civil rights leader's famous "Drum Major Instinct" speech, something poet Maya Angelou said makes King sound "arrogant."

There were still many unknowns associated with how to make the correction.

As The Washington Post noted at the time: "Editing words carved onto a slab of granite a yard thick is complex. It is unclear exactly how it could be done and what the cost might be."

Now more than six months later, the controversial quotation fragment remains. The Washington Times notes:

Officials said they are waiting for the end of the summer tourist season, which means hundreds of thousands of visitors have seen the “drum major” quote. Even now, as dignitaries prepare to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the memorial Tuesday night, there is no sign or anything else there to let the public know anything is wrong with the wording, which some observers say is an insult to the civil rights leader’s memory.

It's not an easy fix and requires coordination between the National Park Service, Chinese artist Lu Yixin and Rhode Island stone carver Nicholas Benson, who told the Times that it will necessitate replacing some granite stones and carving down about one inch, the depth of the original lettering. The work will take about 30 days.

The Martin Luther King National Memorial opened last year on a spot along the Tidal Basin between the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials. Tuesday marks the memorial's anniversary, although the official dedication was postponed due to the Hurricane Irene.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial