Salazar: Change mangled MLK quote

Jan. 14, 2012 at 12:00 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A paraphrased quotation on the Martin Luther King memorial in Washington must be changed or removed, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Friday.

Salazar gave the National Park Service 30 days to come up with a fix, saying "things only happen when you put a deadline on it," The Washington Post reported.

King, in a sermon delivered two months before his assassination in 1968, spoke of the "drum major instinct" as a self-centered outlook and looked forward to his own eulogy: "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."

The monument's designers shortened the quote to make it more visually appealing: "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."

After the Post did a story in the summer on the change, Martin Luther King III told CNN the worlds are not what his father said. Poet Maya Angelou told the Post the short version made King sound like "an arrogant twit."

Edward Jackson Jr., the lead architect, said the entire quotation is too long to be usable. He said designers have already proposed a paraphrase he hopes will work better.

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