Controversial King memorial inscription set to be erased, not replaced

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The government has decided to remove a controversial inscription on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial rather than replace it, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Tuesday....

The inscription comes from a powerful, difficult-to-distill sermon King delivered two months before he was assassinated in 1968.

Speaking to the congregation of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, King critiqued the “drum major instinct,” shorthand for a showboat who leads the parade. Imagining his own eulogy, King made it clear he wanted to be remembered for a higher purpose.

“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice,” King said. “Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all the other shallow things will not matter.”

When carved into granite on the north face of the memorial’s centerpiece, a statue of King emerging from a huge block of stone, the sentiment was edited from 46 words to 10, to fit the space available: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”...

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