Thu04242014

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Maya Angelou beats protest drum over King Memorial inscription

Poet Maya Angelou is one of the more high-profile consultants for the recently opened memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C. and she has a bone to pick with the finished product. Poet and author Maya Angelou is one of the more high-profile consultants for the recently opened memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C. and she has a bone to pick with the finished product.

 
 Maya Angelou

On Tuesday, Angelou told the Washington Post that a segment of the memorial makes Dr. King come off as arrogant, which she says could not be further from the truth.

The problem as framed by Angelou is this paraphrased quote: “I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness.”

Dr. King’s actual words were delivered on Feb. 4, 1968 during a sermon at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church. He focused on what might be said about him if he died, which he did two months later when he was fatally shot in Memphis.

Dr. King’s words: “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. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

The omission of the phrase that begins with the two-letter word “if” makes a big difference, said Angelou, who wants the paraphrased version to be adjusted.

While Angelou is listed among the memorial’s Council of Historians picked to select inscriptions for the memorial, she did not attend inscription meetings, the Washington Post reported.

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