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MLK Jr. Memorial quote will stay

Sept. 4, 2011 at 12:46 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The designer of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial says an inscription will stay, despite complaints it makes the civil rights leader seem arrogant.

Ed Jackson Jr. says he stands by the project's decision to use a paraphrase from King's "drum major" sermon, The Washington Post reported.

The inscription on the stature, which was opened to the public Aug. 22, reads "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."

"We felt it was quite appropriate for [King] to define himself ... 'I was a drum major for peace, justice, and righteousness.' You can't get any more succinct than that," Jackson said Friday.

Maya Angelou, poet and author, said the paraphrased quote is misleading and inaccurate that makes King look like an "arrogant twit."

"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. And all of the other shallow things will not matter," King said during a sermon critiquing individual leadership instincts.

Jackson maintains that there is not enough space for the entire quote.

"The space is not there. We don't have an enormous palette here," he said.

The dedication was scheduled for Aug. 28, but was canceled due to Hurricane Irene. A new date has yet to be set.

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