Quote on MLK Memorial to be Removed

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  • WASHINGTON (AP) — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar endorsed a plan Tuesday to remove a disputed inscription from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, rather than cut into the granite to replace it with a fuller quotation.

    Salazar said he had reached an agreement with King’s family, the group that built the memorial and the National Park Service to remove a paraphrase from King’s “Drum Major” speech by carving grooves over the lettering to match existing scratch marks in the sculpture. Memorial sculptor Lei Yixin recommended removing the inscription this way to avoid harming the monument’s structural integrity.

    Critics including poet Maya Angelou complained after the memorial opened in 2011 that the paraphrased quotation took King’s words out of context, making him sound arrogant. The paraphrase reads: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”

    The full quotation was taken from a 1968 sermon about two months before King was assassinated. It reads: “Yes, 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.”

    In a statement provided to The Associated Press, Salazar explained the resolution of the long disagreement over the inscription and how it should be repaired.

    “I am proud that all parties have come together on a resolution that will help ensure the structural integrity of this timeless and powerful monument to Dr. King’s life and legacy,” Salazar said.

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    5 thoughts on “Quote on MLK Memorial to be Removed

    1. If only everyone would study MLK. America would be a better place. MLK was not a racist. He believe in the human race. Not a divided human races. Thank you race baiters and politics in keeping racism alive in america.

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    5. While it was not mentioned in the story, I have wonder whether it was due limited space on the memorial or trying to meet a deadline for completion that these abbreviated remarks got inscripted on the structure? At least all parties involved were able to get together and work it out.

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