In 2001, Angelou explained why she and other black leaders wanted to make sure that her original quote, which includes a reference to the unsanitary conditions slaves endured during the Middle Passage, was included on the monument. The picture of it, it's so horrible. And yet if we can see how horrible it is, then we might treat each other a little nicer.
The inscription reads:
We were stolen, sold and bought together from the African continent. We got on the slave ships together. We lay back to belly in the holds of the slave ships in each others excrement and urine together, sometimes died together, and our lifeless bodies thrown overboard together. Today, we are standing up together, with faith and even some joy.
Angelou penned the final line and gave the city permission to modify her original quote to include this as on the monument so long as the rest of the quote was not modified.