The Latest: Thousands gather in Memphis where King was slain
Jan. 16, 2018
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations around the country (all times local):
Thousands of people have celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday with song, dance and speechmaking at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee.
The holiday weekend was a special father-and-son trip for Alan Williams and 14-year-old Alan Louis Williams. The pair from Tallahassee, Florida, visited important sites in King's life, including the site in Memphis where King declared, "I've been to the mountaintop."
The Commercial Appeal reports they were among visitors Monday to the civil rights museum.
Shamika Stinson traveled from Holly Springs, Mississippi, with her twin 10-year-old daughters, Ashley and Alyssa, who were clad in bright yellow and purple for a performance in the Watoto African dance troupe. Stinson says it was great to see different cultures coming together.
King was assassinated in 1968 at the Lorraine Motel, which is now part of the civil rights museum.
Community leaders and some prominent Democratic lawmakers took aim at President Donald Trump at a New York City commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
The event was led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who spoke to a crowd of about 200 people Monday in Harlem.
"Trump Tower is in the wrong state," said Sharpton, adding that it's embarrassing that the Republican president is from New York. "What we're going to do about Donald Trump is going to be the spirit of Martin Luther King Day."
The crwod also heard from Democratic New York politicians, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand got a standing ovation after reciting King's writing.
"As tough as these times can be, we have the gift that Dr. King left us," de Blasio said. "He believed it was about us. If you don't like what is happening in Washington, live as Dr. King did."
Trump marked his first MLK Day buffeted by accusations he used an obscenity to describe African nations and Haiti during a recent immigration discussion with some Congressional leaders. The president declared Sunday night, "I'm not a racist."
Former Vice President Joe Biden says American values are being challenged in present times but that the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. provides an example of how to respond.
Biden was the keynote speaker Monday at the Delaware State Bar Association's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day breakfast in Wilmington, Delaware.
The News Journal reports Biden criticized President Donald Trump's response to white nationalist rallies last August in Charlottesville and his reported use of an obscenity to describe African nations and Haiti during a recent immigration discussion with some Congressional leaders.
But he said he believes Americans are ready to respond and re-establish the nation's "moral fabric."
Said Biden, now is the time to "remind ourselves who we are as Americans."
With Vice President Mike Pence sitting in the pews, a Maryland pastor denounced President Donald Trump's vulgar description of African nations.
Maurice Watson, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Largo, delivered the sermon Sunday while Pence was visiting.
Watson called Trump's remarks — in which he reportedly used an obscenity to describe African nations and Haiti during an immigration discussion with Congressional leaders — "dehumanizing" and "ugly."
The pastor said "whoever made such a statement" is wrong and should be held accountable.
Watson said he felt "led by God to do it" and noted many of his congregants come from African nations.
Worshippers stood and applauded as Watson spoke.
WUSA-TV reports Pence became red-faced at times during the sermon, though Pence's office denied that in an email Monday to The Associated Press.
The Cherokee Nation says Principal Chief Bill John Baker decided that the tribe should honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year because of ongoing racial tensions nationwide and because the tribe is seeking to make amends with slavery.
Cherokee Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. said Monday that the tribe is working to come to terms with its own history with African-American slavery and is welcoming descendants of former slaves, known as Freedmen.
A federal court ruled last year that the Freedmen had the same rights to tribal citizenship, voting, health care and housing as blood-line Cherokees.
Hoskin visited the Martin Luther King Community Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma and spoke how King's message of civil rights resonates with Native Americans.
King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, urged people to remember her father by doing "an act of kindness toward someone of another race" between now and April 4, the day the Rev. Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968.
She asked hundreds of people gathered Monday at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where her father once preached, to "connect and find a sense of humanity in each other." And she reminded those at the service to honor the slain rights leader by remembering that "we are one people, one nation, one blood, one destiny."
The younger King also joined others who criticized President Donald Trump and told the crowd that their collective voice "must always be louder than the one who sometimes does not reflect the legacy of my father."
And she said it's time for what she called a "New Year's revolution of values in our souls" and to honor her father by finishing the work "that he was not able to finish."
Haitians angered by comments President Donald Trump is said to have made about their country are engaged in a shouting match with pro-Trump protesters down the street from the president's Mar-a-Lago retreat.
Video posted by WPEC-TV showed several hundred pro-Haiti demonstrators yelling from one side of the street Monday while waving Haitian flags. The Haitians and their supporters shouted, "Our country is not a shithole," referring to comments the president reportedly made last week during a meeting with senators about immigration. Trump has said that is not the language he used.
The smaller pro-Trump contingent waved American flags and campaign posters and yelled, "Trump is making America great again." One man could be seen telling the Haitians to leave the country. Police kept the sides apart.
The corner is across the bridge that leads to Mar-a-Lago. Trump has been at the resort for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend and his motorcade usually passes that corner. Monday would have been King's 89th birthday.
President Donald Trump says the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of a colorblind society is the American dream.
Trump dedicated his weekly address to King, the civil rights leader who was assassinated 50 years ago in April. Trump spent Monday's King federal holiday in Florida with no public appearances on his official schedule, but he tweeted the radio and video address to his followers.
Trump says in the address that King's dream of a colorblind society offers dignity and hope to every American, regardless of color or creed.
He is marking his first King holiday in office buffeted by claims that he used a vulgarity to describe African countries and questioned the need to allow more Haitians into the U.S.
Trump declared Sunday night that "I'm not a racist."
LeBron James says honoring the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is more important than ever because "we're ... divided right now by somebody."
James was referring to President Donald Trump, whom the Cavaliers star has openly criticized in the past. James spoke Monday in Ohio as he and his teammates prepared to host Golden State in one of 11 NBA games played on the national holiday for the civil rights leader who was assassinated 50 years ago.
James credited the league for playing games as a tribute "for a man who stood for more than himself."
James noted that king "gave up his life for the betterment of all of us."
Trump has drawn international criticism for disparaging remarks he is said to have made about African countries during a discussion with congressional leaders about immigration.
A South Korean Pentecostal pastor says the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words and actions have inspired him to dream of better relations with North Korea.
The Rev. Young Hoon Lee spoke Monday in Atlanta at Ebenezer Baptist Church where King once preached. His remarks came during a commemorative service for the slain civil rights leader on what would have been his 89th birthday.
Using words from King's "I Have a Dream" speech, the pastor said he dreams "that little boys and girls from North and South Korea will join together as brothers and sisters."
The pastor's short speech came after the Dreamer Children's Choir from the South Korean-based Yoido Full Gospel Church performed "Amazing Grace" and "Christ You are the Fullness."
King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, will be the keynote speaker at the service.
The pastor of the Atlanta church where the Rev. Martin Luther King once preached is describing as "madness" the disparaging words President Donald Trump is said to have made last week about African nations and Haiti.
At a service Monday to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ebenezer Baptist Church pastor the Rev. Raphael Warnock also took issue with Trump's campaign slogan to "Make America Great Again."
Warnock said he thinks America "is already great ... in large measure because of Africa and African people."
He urged people in the audience to speak out against such remarks about other countries, noting King's own words that "silence is betrayal."
Trump has denied making the statements and says he is not a racist.
King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, will be the keynote speaker at the service.
Anti-poverty activists in New Mexico and a groundbreaking Cherokee Nation declaration about the tribe's role in promoting equality are part of the focus of Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.
At gatherings across the nation, activists, residents and teachers are honoring the late civil rights leader ahead of the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee.
Officials of the Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation are recognizing the holiday for the first time and plan to openly address the tribe's history as slave owners. Months ago, a federal judge ruled Cherokee Freedman have the same rights to citizenship as native Cherokees.
In Atlanta, the Rev. Bernice King, will be the keynote speaker at a commemorative service honoring her father at Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Near Detroit, organizers will hold a peace walk and celebration.