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January 16, 2012 Outrages of the week: Monumental black history, in and out of context


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Daily Caller:

If you haven’t yet been to Washington, D.C. yet, you’d better make the trip soon. Before long, scaffolds and tarpaulins might take an imposing stone structure out of public view for a while.

Why? The architects and sculptors got an inscriptions wrong. Sort of.

I’m not just talking about the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, but that’s a good place to start.

“I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” the chiseled letters on King’s new monument say.

If that doesn’t sound like the selfless civil-rights martyr you learned about in school, you get a gold star.

“That was not what dad said,” a frustrated Martin Luther King III told CNN shortly after the unveiling. Maya Angelou, the former United States Poet Laureate who knew King well, said the quotation made him sound like “an arrogant twit.”

Was King’s son right? Of course. the monument’s planners took a famous remark out of context. Here’s what King actually said during a 1968 sermon in Atlanta, two months to the day before he was killed:

“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, ladies and gentlemen — if you want to say 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.”snip
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