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Bangor Daily News faces heavy criticism for publishing edited 'I Have a Dream' speech

Andrew Harnik
A large group gathers to watch a wreath-laying ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Washington, Monday, Jan. 16, 2023.

The Bangor Daily News is facing heavy criticism from writers who've discovered over the past few days that the outlet has sanitized and omitted large sections of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

The paper's editorial board has republished the speech online in recent years to mark King's birthday.

But on Sunday, Princeton historian Kevin Kruse noted on social media that sections of the address, on issues including poverty and police brutality, had been excluded from the BDN's version, creating a sanitized version of King's message. Another writer, Parker Molloy, also noted that the paper omitted King's description of "vicious racists" in Alabama.

In an editorial published Tuesday afternoon, the Bangor Daily News editorial board apologized and said the edits were made to "honor King's legacy" in limited print space, where the full speech would not fit. Opinion editor Susan Young did not immediately speak on tape, and initially deferred to the editorial.

Below is Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have A Dream' speech, as published by the Bangor Daily News (left) and transcribed by the National Archives.