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Maya Angelou Takes Issue With MLK Memorial Quote

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The new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened Aug. 22. Already there is controversy over a Dr. King quote that was paraphrased for space.
Elliott Francis
The new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened Aug. 22. Already there is controversy over a Dr. King quote that was paraphrased for space.

Poet and author Maya Angelou is taking issue with a paraphrased quotation by Martin Luther King Jr. etched in the recently opened memorial for Dr. King near the mall.

The paraphrase reads: "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."

The exact words, taken from a sermon Dr. King delivered in 1968 are: "Yes, 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."

Angelou, a consultant on the memorial, says the out of context version sounds egotistical and should be changed.

Planners say they intended to use most of the original quote, but had to change its placement to an area of the sculpture which couldn't accommodate the entire quote.

Ed Jackson Jr., executive architect of the memorial, says although Angelou was part of the committee charged with selecting quotes for the memorial, she did not attend meetings about the inscriptions.

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