Paraphrased Quotation on MLK Memorial Will Not Change: Architect

Saturday, Sep 3, 2011  |  Updated 1:31 PM EDT
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King Memorial Dedication Postponed

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is seen unveiled from scaffolding during the soft opening of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, Monday, Aug. 22, 2011. The memorial will be dedicated Sunday, Aug. 28. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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Up Close at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial

After years in the making, people can finally get an up-close look at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial.

King Memorial Dedication Postponed

Officials announced Thursday that the dedication for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial will be postponed until October or November.
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The executive architect of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington says an inscription on the monument won't be changed, despite criticism from poet Maya Angelou that it makes King sound arrogant.

Ed Jackson Jr. tells The Washington Post he stands by the paraphrased line from King's ``drum major'' sermon in 1968.

King said, ``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.''

The shortened version reads: ``I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.''

The words were from a sermon King delivered at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church two months before he was assassinated about a eulogy for when he died.  The quote was paraphrased so that it would fit on the north side of the statue.

Jackson says the line has historical perspective and allows King to define himself. He says there is no way it can be altered.

Poet Maya Angelou told the Post that the condensed version of the quotation makes the civil rights leader "look like an arrogant twit," but, she said, "he was anything but that."

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