WASHINGTON, January 10, 2018.: This Monday, January 15, we celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. A week ahead of the federal holiday, President Trump has put pen to legislation to honor the civil rights leader’s birthday. And removed another brick of political partisanship.
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act of 2017,
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act of 2017 (Rep. John Lewis D-GA 5th District), designates King’s birthplace as a National Historical Park. Alveda King, the Reverand’s niece, Isaac Newton Farris Jr., nephew of Dr. King, and Bruce Levell of the National Diversity Coalition were present at the signing.
The legislation was introduced by Rep. John Lews (D-GA) and signed aboard Air Force One.
It was my great honor to sign H.R. 267, the “Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act,” which redesignates the Martin Luther King, Junior, National Historic Site in the State of Georgia as the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. https://t.co/Qe0b6HBFTY pic.twitter.com/QTgaqTawPT
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2018
Speaking to the press corps, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said:
“Through his life and work, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made America more just and free. This important historical park tells his story, and this bill will help ensure that the park continues to tell Dr. King’s story for generations to come.”
The sites of King’s birthplace, the church where he was baptized, and his burial place were all included in the legislation that grew the site’s boundaries to include the Prince Hall Masonic Temple. The temple served as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the civil rights organization that King co-founded, headquarters.
Previous to this designation the home where the Reverand King was born on January 15, 1929, was listed as a National Historic Site.
Trump removed King bust from the Oval Office
One of the very first fake-news stories about President Trump., TIME White House correspondent Zeke Miller reported that the bust of Reverand King had been removed from the Oval Office. Reporters also made comment on the bust of Winston Churchill, sent back to England by President Obama, was back in the executive office.
Despite the fact that Georgia Governor Phil Bryant invited the President to the states 200th-anniversary celebration, Democrat leaders boycotted the opening Mississippi Civil Rights Museum saying:
“ President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum,” they said. “President Trump’s disparaging comments about women, the disabled, immigrants and National Football League players disrespect the efforts of Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, Medgar Evers, Robert Clark, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and countless others who have given their all for Mississippi to be a better place.”
Rep. Lewis tone toward the President has, at least temporarily, changed:
“I am so proud that we were able to work in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to establish Georgia’s first National Historical Park in Dr. King’s name and legacy before what would be his 89th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his tragic assassination,” Rep. Lewis said in a statement. “I hope that this moment will serve as a reminder of the constant work to realize Dr. King’s dream of building the Beloved Community — a community at peace with itself and our neighbors.”
Legislation protects King sites for future generations
Earlier in the day, Monday Januar 8th, the president also signed the African American Civil Right Network Act of 2017 (Rep. Clay, Wm. Lacy [D-MO-1] ) which requires the National Park Service to link Civil Rights historical sites. Also signed was the 400 Years of African American History Commision Act (Rep. Scott, Robert C. “Bobby” [D-VA-3]).
Being a National Historic Landmark (NHL) provides the sites with additional protection from development, and may also make the property eligible for Federal money including preservation grants and technical preservation assistance. In addition, NHL sites benefit from heritage tourism as they are included in the National Park Service’s Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itineraries, a resource used by many travelers and the National Park Service’s Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) Lesson Plan program, a resource used by K-12 educators, colleges, and universities to teach history through historic places.
Each of these acts will ensure that the events and locations important to highlighting African-American history will be preserved, honored and available for future generations to visit and learn from.
Trump was traveling to Marietta, Ga., for the College Football Playoff national championship game.
Lead Image: President Donald J. Trump, with Alveda King, center, niece of slain Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and joined by Isaac Newton Farris Jr., left, nephew of Dr. King, and Bruce Levell of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, right, signs the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park Act, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, aboard Air Force One, in Atlanta, Ga. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)