Famous poet, Maya Angelou had a mouthful to say about the inscription on the new statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. Designers of the memorial chose words from Martin Luther King’s speech that he gave at Ebenezer Baptist Church here in Atlanta back in 1968. The original quote from Dr. King states “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.â€ However, what actually went on the memorial is ” I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness”. Maya Angelou, who is one of the listed Council of Historians to select inscriptions for the statue, is not happy about this at all. She thinks that the inscription is misleading and wants it changed. She had this to say about the situation,
“The quote makes Dr. Martin Luther King look like an arrogant twit. He was anything but that. He was far too profound a man for that four-letter word to apply. He had no arrogance at all. He had a humility that comes from deep inside. The â€˜ifâ€™ clause that is left out is salient. Leaving it out changes the meaning completely. The paraphrase minimizes the man. It makes him seem less than the humanitarian he was. .â€‰.â€‰. It makes him seem an egotist.â€
Dang! Seems like she’s pretty upset about this. Designers said that the last minute change happened because they didn’t have enough space to fit the entire quote.Â Ed Jackson Jr, who is the executive architect, fired back with this, “I think itâ€™s rather small of folks to pick at things. This has been going on for 14 years, and all of them have had plenty of time to add their thoughts and ideas.â€
Do you think this is a minor thing that can be overlooked or do you agree with Maya Angelou?
Filed under: African American Issues