As today is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, a photo of the Lincoln Memorial only seems fitting. It’s where King delivered his speech in 1963 to supporters, and where President Obama delivered a speech of his own today in remembrance.
The Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D.C., was unveiled on August 28, 2011. It has since proved hugely popular, with an estimated 1.5 to 2 million visitors in its first year. It has also proved controversial.
As Art Daily reports, several public figures complained about an inscription on the memorial that reads, “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.” The inscription is not in quotes because it’s actually a paraphrase of what King said. His actual words were, “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.”
Leading poet Maya Angelou told the Washington Post that the paraphrase makes King look like “an arrogant twit.” She went on to say that the civil rights leader was anything but arrogant and the paraphrase “minimizes the man.”
Now the full quote will be included. In September or October, after the summer tourist rush is over, two sculptors will change the quote.
The statue’s other inscription hasn’t caused any controversy. It reads, “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”
[Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons]
To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the National Park Service will host its first fee-free weekend of 2012 this week. Starting Saturday, January 14 and running through Monday, January 16, the entry fee for more than 397 national parks and monuments across the U.S. will be waived completely.
A number of the parks and monuments will be honoring the civil rights activist with special ceremonies and events throughout the weekend. The newly opened MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C., for instance, will have rangers on hand to discuss Dr. King’s pivotal role in seeking equality for all races, while the MLK National Historic Site in Georgia will host a special program on Sunday that examines King’s legacy.
Of course, there are always a host of other activities to do in the parks as well and the winter months often bring unique opportunities to these scenic places. I’d recommend snowshoeing in Yellowstone, hiking in Yosemite, or even paddling the Everglades. After all, without an entrance fee, there’s no excuse not to go.
If you can’t make it to your favorite park this weekend, never fear. The Park Service has a number of other free days scheduled for the year, with your next opportunity coming on April 21-29 in celebration of National Park Week.
For a complete list of the national parks that will be fee-free this weekend, click here.