Hi Hater? Maya Angelou Says MLK Memorial Makes Him Look Like “An Arrogant Twit”

- By Bossip Staff Categories: For Discussion, Hi Hater, Race Matters

maya angelou

Doesn’t look like everyone is enthused about the MLK memorial in D.C.

One quote featured on the MLK statue is “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” but that’s not actually the exact statement he made in his speech to Ebenezer church on February 4, 1968. King actually said, “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.”

Angelou thinks that the misquote is a horrible move. “It makes him seem less than the humanitarian he was. … It makes him seem an egotist.”

Here’s the official retort from the people behind the statue:

“We sincerely felt passionate that the man’s own eulogy should be expressed on the stone,” said Ed Jackson Jr., executive architect of the memorial. “We said the least we could do was define who he was based on his perception of himself: ‘I was a drum major for this, this and this.'”

What do you think? Is Maya Angelou right or is she overreacting?


  • Alexandria bailey

    I believe Maya angelou is correct. It takes his initial meaning completely out of context

  • I'm Just Me...Keeping It Real Since: 1983

    If you are going to quote the man, quote it correctly or else don’t bother. Kind of defeats the purpose of using his quote if you are going to chop them up.

  • homicidalbrainiac

    Great orator that MLK was- quote him accurately. I agree with Alexandria and I’m Just Me. It’s on this man’s memorial, paraphrasing isn’t needed. It’s all about semantics.

  • http://google SMH

    I agree with all above, and I’m glad that Maya is trying to have the error corrected. His kids need to step up.

  • suthnpeach

    Well that’s how they did coming forth by day and by night. Gave it a new name

  • Steelcitychick

    I have to differ with Ms.Angelou to an extent.
    It takes a man with ego to go against the tide, it takes a man with ego to have followers! His ego got us to this point
    Without an ego, who has the audasity to go against the government! Yes, he was bigger then life, and one needs to have that type of thinking to go head into a volatile situation like we had in the 50s and 60’s! You have to have an ego to think you can change others!

  • Sursum ad Summum

    @ steelcitychick
    Courage and ego are completely different things. Ego does not always translate into acts of leadership and courage. Why misquote the man ? The actual quote, was his way of downplaying statements that he was a drum major (egotistical) . . . . . . . ” yes, if you want to say i am a drum major” . . . . . ” And all the other shallow things will not matter”. Leaving those quotes out lessens the true meaning of his words. Paraphrasing can alter meaning.

  • Steelcitychick

    @ Sursum…I beg to differ…if one doesn’t have the ego…then one can’t muster the courage! One has to have the knowledge and the know how to articulate what their trying to convey!….that being said, one can’t have the courage without the ego to go forth!….nor can one have the courage without the ego, to think they can sway others to think like and act like them!

  • Justme

    Steelchick I can’t take you seriously when you don’t know the difference between then and than. Yes, he was bigger than life :)

  • Steelcitychick

    Wow…justme…you lookin,that hard for typo’s! You got a lot to contribute!

  • HumbleOpinions

    I have to disagree SteelCity. Courage does not require ego. Most civil servants such as Dr. King are much to humble to have egos because their work is not about them. Egos are self-serving.

  • Steelcitychick

    Ok…I respect your opinions @ sursum and humble. Food for thought! I’ll stick with my beliefs, but will consider your.

  • Amazing_one5

    Cosign @ Humble and Sursum. You can always count on Maya to give you the real. Lol

  • gina

    Rflol….ya yanking each others chain again with the name game and the grammar checks…

  • Stac

    Ego is being confused with confidence.

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