The executive architect for the newly-opened Martin Luther King memorial in Washington says repairs to correct a quotation on the monument will end up "scarring it for life".
The United States National Park Service has confirmed that the work will go ahead.
The quotation "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness" was originally part of a longer sentence but was inscribed out of context, the BBC reports.
Executive architect Ed Jackson said the work would be permanently visible.
He said the fix would require new granite which would be a noticeably different colour even if it came from the same quarry.
The work would amount to "defacing" the memorial or "scarring it for life", he added.