View Full Version : New Oval Office Rug Gets Quote Wrong

09-06-2010, 11:53 AM

Sept. 5) When President Barack Obama ponders big policy decisions, he might find inspiration from some of his favorite quotations inscribed on a new rug in the Oval Office.

The rug's perimeter is lined with sayings from Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and Teddy Roosevelt. It also has a quote that Obama has described as his favorite from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Only it turns out after the rug has already be sewn and laid down that it's been incorrectly attributed to King.

A saying on a new rug in the Oval Office is attributed to Martin Luther King Jr., but the quote actually came from an abolitionist minister from Massachusetts.

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice," is a phrase the civil rights leader used regularly. Obama even referred to it in his election victory speech in Chicago on Nov. 5, 2008.

But it turns out that whenever King used the phrase, he was actually echoing another speaker a century before him, whom he admired: the Massachusetts minister and abolitionist Theodore Parker, who in 1853 said, "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one. . . . But from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice."

The quote has often been attributed to King, but it seems Obama, his biographer David Remnick and none of the White House decorators bothered to look into its historic origins or even do a quick search on Wikipedia which has an entry listing Parker is the original author of the phrase.


09-06-2010, 02:19 PM
It's okay, his prayer rug will cover the offending passage five times per day. :D

(no, I don't think that Obama is a Muslim, it's just funny).