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CRITICISM PROMPTS POWELL TO BOW OUT OF KING PARADE

Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has decided not to serve as grand marshal of a parade honoring Martin Luther King Jr. after some civil rights leaders questioned his selection as creating an awkward situation at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change.

Powell, the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is a longtime admirer of King and often quotes the slain civil rights leader in his speeches.

He said last week in a letter to Coretta Scott King, King's widow, that he believed his presence might detract from the Jan. 21 event and events in the Persian Gulf might require that he be in Washington then. Mrs. King said she accepted Powell's withdrawal, adding she strongly opposes U.S. military involvement in the gulf.

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