Martin Luther King Jr. celebrated with memorial in Washington - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Martin Luther King Jr. celebrated with memorial in Washington


(CNN)-- For the first time, Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated with a memorial in his honor.

The 30-foot tall statue was unveiled in the nation's capital last year.

It was the centerpiece of celebrations to mark the civil rights leader's birthday on Sunday.

The memorial will not stay as it is now.

The National Parks Service says it will change a paraphrased quote on the side of the statue after poet Maya Angelou said it made King appear arrogant.

"We do not want it as a distraction," said President & CEO of the MLK Jr. Memorial Foundation, Harry Johnson. "We actually want it to be correct, so we're working with the National Park Service to see what will happen."

King would have been 83 years old had he lived.

He was assassinated in Memphis in 1968, leaving a legacy of service and a dream of equality.

"He brought beautiful things to our country. What was needed at the time," said memorial visitor Bill Janocha. "We needed to break away from stereotypes and injustice."

King's son says his father had unfinished business when he was shot and killed.

The civil rights leader had only just begun his poor people's campaign to demand economic justice.

"He did not live to see that come to fruition," said Martin Luther King III. "And so, 47, 45, 44 years later we are still challenging our nation."

The first family attended church yesterday to mark the civil rights leader's birthday.

On Monday, they'll do community service to honor his life's work.

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