When U.S. Needs MLK’s Voice More Than Ever, Automaker Dodge Waters Down His Message to Peddle Trucks

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Super Bowl Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of “The Drum Major Instinct,” a historic sermon the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on February 4, 1968, two months before his assassination. The sermon is mostly remembered for the way King concluded it, by imagining his own funeral, downplaying his famous achievements and saying, “If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice.” Well, on Sunday, Ram trucks marked the anniversary of King’s speech by using part of it in a Super Bowl ad to sell trucks. The controversial ad featured King’s voice played over video showing U.S. marines, ranchers and a soldier wearing camouflage, but it ignored King’s own warning about car advertisements from the same speech. We speak to the famed sociologist and civil rights activist Harry Edwards.

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