"At the King Memorial in Washington, you won't see a single quote about poverty," says Carson, author of "Martin's Dream." "You have a lot of quotes about love and abstract ideas, but translating love to let's take care of the poor, that's a step that most people aren't willing to take."
What's happening to King's message is part of a larger trend in American history: a deliberate attempt to "misremember" race, says Branch, the civil rights author.
"That is the temptation of American history, to say we don't need to deal with race anymore. We misremembered the Civil War for a 100 years, thinking that it had nothing to do with slavery and that the glorious old wonderful South was like 'Gone with the Wind,' " Branch says.
What Branch calls "misremembering" others call recapturing King's conservative legacy.
Raney, who wrote the Heritage Foundation article about King's conservative values, says she did so because she wanted to "reclaim" King for conservatives.
Still, she says as much as she's read about King, he remains elusive.
"It seems like there are almost two Kings, the earlier one and the later one," she says.
Both versions of King will be on display this Monday. Forty-five years after his death, one thing has not changed: King's message is still dividing America.