Here's a clip that contains audio of my favorite quote from Dr. Martin Luther King.
My favorite part is "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve."
A few weeks ago, a controversy flared up over King's words. A memorial to the American civil rights leader includes an abbreviated inscription. Poet and Author Maya Angelou criticized the action. The current inscription reads:
"I was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness."
It's not a direct quote. It's been altered to fit the memorial.
His real comment:
"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."
According to this ABC News report, the MLK memorial is not alone with changing quotes from the men being recognized. Similar changes have been made to Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln Memorials as well as Franklin Delano Roosevelt's monument.
Angelou complained that leaving the "if" off the quote that it makes King "look like an arrogant twit."
I believe the quote should be removed. If there isn't enough room for the whole quote, then leave it off.
I feel like the memorial creators are taking a rule from Thomas Edison's playbook. A fun quote attributed to him: "Hell there are no rules here — we're trying to accomplish something."
What do you think: Is it fair to change Dr. King's words? Do you care if people change your written or spoken words.