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Error Honors King Assassin

January 17, 2002|Reuters

LAUDERHILL, Fla. — A plaque intended to honor black actor James Earl Jones at a Florida celebration of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. instead paid tribute to James Earl Ray, the man who killed the black civil rights leader, officials said Wednesday.

The plaque's designer made the error, said Gerald Wilcox, owner of Lauderhill-based Adpro, which ordered the plaque. It was being corrected for Jones' visit to the Fort Lauderdale suburb Saturday.

"We were very upset," said Wilcox.

Over a background featuring stamps of famous black Americans, including King, the erroneous plaque read, "Thank you James Earl Ray for keeping the dream alive."

Ray shot and killed King in Memphis in 1968. King is honored across the nation Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Texas-based Merit Industries, which made the plaque, blamed a typographical error.

"We in no way meant any disrespect," said Herbert Miller, the owner of Merit Industries.

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