The controversial “drum major” inscription on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington will be removed rather than replaced under a plan announced Tuesday by federal officials.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a news release that the move followed consultation with a “range of stakeholders” who concurred with the decision.
Initially, plans called for the quote to be corrected. But the original sculptor, Lei Yixin, said removal was the best way to ensure the structural integrity of the memorial, the National Park Service said.
The site features a commanding 30-foot statue of King, arms folded across his chest, emerging from a “Stone of Hope.”
The quote in question — one of more than a dozen on the site — is inscribed on one side of the stone. The abbreviated and paraphrased version of the line sparked controversy in 2011 when acclaimed poet and author Maya Angelou said it made the civil rights leader appear to be arrogant.
The line reads: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”
In fact, King’s original words, from a 1968 sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, were: “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.”
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article courtesy of CNN.com