Quote on MLK monument causes controversy

(Photo: CNN)
(Photo: CNN)

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington is drawing people from across the world, but some of the words carved into it have left famous poet Maya Angelou incensed.

The monument sits along the waterfront in Washington D.C. One of the featured inscriptions on the monument reads, "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."

Poet Maya Angelou told the Washington Post the quote makes King look like "an arrogant twit," and the inscriptions do not reflect exactly what King said.

In a speech delivered two months before his death, King described how he wanted to be remembered: "Yes, if you want to say 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."

Originally, the quote in its full length was to be inscribed on the monument's marquee wall where there was room, but then organizers at the last minute decided to put a different quote there.

The monument's architect says they had to shorten the quote for space.

Some have also taken issue with the design itself saying King looks too angry, stern, and the fact that the sculptor who designed the statue is from China, the stone from which the monument was made is from China.

Sculptor Ed Dwight, who was consulted early on in the project, is not pleased with how it turned out.

"The statue represents everything that King wasn't," Dwight said. "He was a very, very humble man, and if you read his speeches and stuff ... he was really worried about people making too big a deal about what he did in his life."

Tourists have been flocking to the monument, and people are saying it's a beautiful tribute to King.

"Martin Luther King would have been touched that he touched the lives of so many human beings, and I don't see any problem whatsoever," said tourist Craig Robinson.

Copyright 2011 CNN. All rights reserved.