President Trump Signs Bill Expanding Martin Luther King Historic Site

Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is expanding, thanks to a bill signed Monday by President Donald Trump.
The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site includes The Eternal Flame and the crypt of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King. Photo courtesy of The King Center.

Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is expanding, thanks to a bill signed Monday by President Donald Trump.

The site honoring King’s life and work now will include the Prince Hall Masonic Temple, which served as headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

And the site will get a new designation as a national historic park, making it Georgia’s first.

“Designating a unit as a national historical park as opposed to a national historic site is a way to let potential visitors know that the unit contains a greater collection of resources,” said park superintendent Judy Forte.

The site already includes King’s birth home, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he was baptized, and his final resting place.

Forte says adding the SCLC headquarters will give visitors a better understanding of King’s work as a civil rights leader.

“It will mean so much more for our park visitors to be able to come to see the place where he worked — many of the SCLC initiatives came out of that building — and, of course, to see his resting place,” Forte said.

She points to the Poor People’s Campaign, which the SCLC was planning when King was assassinated in 1968, as an example of the work done there.

The site is in the heart of Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, represented by Democrat John Lewis, who sponsored the legislation expanding it.

The civil rights leader and friend of King has openly been at odds with Trump during his time in office. Still, Lewis said Monday he was proud of the expansion and new designation.

“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,” he said in a statement.

The federal holiday honoring King is next week. The 50th anniversary of his assassination is later this year.

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