Quote on MLK Memorial to be removed

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Inscription "I WAS A DRUM MAJOR FOR JUSTICE PEACE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS", on side of "Stone of Hope" sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr., Washington, DC (AP Photo)

Inscription “I WAS A DRUM MAJOR FOR JUSTICE PEACE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS”, on side of “Stone of Hope” sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr., Washington, DC (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is endorsing a plan to remove an inscription from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, rather than cut into the granite to replace it with a fuller quotation.

Salazar will announce plans Tuesday 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 said removing the inscription this way would avoid harming the monument’s structural integrity.

Critics including poet Maya Angelou complained the paraphrased quotation took King’s words out of context, making him sound arrogant.

In a joint statement to be released by the Interior Department, King’s family voices support for the new plan.

Work is scheduled to begin after the presidential inauguration in February or March of 2013.

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