January 18, 2021

Communities around the nation are holding scaled down events to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday. Marches, parades, and other events that normally draw crowds honoring the slain civil rights leader were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Black Americans particularly hard. The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, normally hosts up to 12,000 visitors on the day, offering activities for families, but this year it is marking the holiday online.

The altered celebrations follow months of Black Lives Matter civil rights protests after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, and the attack on the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 by a mob of Trump supporters that included white nationalists.

The New York Times has a nice list of ways to celebrate the national holiday safely here. Harold Maass

January 15, 2018

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, two of the civil rights leader's children spoke out against President Trump reportedly calling Haiti and African countries "shitholes."

In Washington, Martin Luther King III said: "I don't even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is. We got to find a way to work on this man's heart." Later on CNN, he called Trump's remarks "extremely racist" and said there's "something wrong" with his heart. His sister, Rev. Bernice King, told the crowd at Ebenezer Baptist Church they "cannot allow the nations of the world to embrace the words that come from our president as a reflection of the true spirit of America," adding, "Our collective voice in this hour must always be louder than the one who sometimes does not reflect the legacy of my father."

Trump spent a good chunk of the holiday golfing at the Trump International Golf Course in Florida. Hundreds of protesters with pro-Haiti signs gathered outside of Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach on Monday, while a much smaller group of Trump supporters stood across from them, with one shouting at the Haitians to leave the United States, The Associated Press reports. Catherine Garcia

January 15, 2018

President Trump is spending Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at one of his favorite places: his West Palm Beach golf course. It will be his third day in a row at the Trump International Golf Course. Trump has now spent 95 days during his presidency at his own golf courses, CNN reports. His motorcade was greeted by a group of Haitian protesters demanding he apologize for his alleged remarks calling Haiti and African nations "shitholes."

The White House on Monday did release a statement about the holiday, which marks the birthday of the civil rights leader, saying King's "principles of nonviolence in pursuit of equality and justice continue to serve as an example for all the world."

The president himself had no public events planned for Monday, but Vice President Mike Pence held down the fort in Washington, D.C. He and his wife visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument on Sunday, the same day Trump told a group of reporters, "I am not a racist," and declared himself the "least racist person." Jessica Hullinger

January 15, 2018

In services ahead of Martin Luther King Day, ministers in black churches across the country on Sunday called out President Trump for reportedly making disparaging remarks about Africa and Haiti in discussions about immigration, expressing disappointment in the direction of the country since Trump took office.

The Rev. Raphael G. Warnock told a mostly African-American crowd celebrating King at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was co-pastor, that Trump is "a willfully ignorant, racist, xenophobic, narcissistic con man," and that people of all races must stand up for those Trump denigrates. In Los Angeles, the Rev. J. Edgar Boyd urged his congregation at First African Methodist Episcopal Church to pray for Trump, and asked God to hold the president accountable for "his words, his deeds, and his actions." Harold Maass

January 16, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump will meet with Martin Luther King III on Monday, incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said. King is a human rights and civil rights activist, and the oldest living child of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday is honored during Monday's federal holiday. Spicer says Trump will discuss with King his father's legacy.

Trump took some heat over the weekend when he attacked Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on Twitter, saying he was "all talk, talk, talk — no action or results" after Lewis refused to recognize Trump's presidential win as legitimate. Lewis is a civil rights leader who marched at Selma with Martin Luther King Jr. Jessica Hullinger

January 19, 2015

Thanks to fundraising led by African American business leaders, more than 275,000 tickets to Selma will be available for students in theaters across the country. All middle and high schoolers have to do is show their student ID or report card at the designated theaters and they can see the Oscar-nominated film for free on Martin Luther King day.

Go to the Selma for Students website to see participating theaters, restrictions, and which cities have already run out of tickets. Lauren Hansen

January 19, 2015

In 1964, as Martin Luther King, Jr. was preparing to travel to Europe to receive his Nobel Peace Prize, he received an anonymous letter urging him to commit suicide. The note, which has long been available in a significantly redacted version, threatens to expose King's marital infidelities using information derived from FBI surveillance and is presumed to be sent by (or at least with the approval of) the FBI.

It was not until last year that the full, unredacted version of the letter was discovered:


"You are done," the letter concludes. "There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy fraudulent self is bared to the nation." King disagreed, continuing his civil rights activism for four more years before his assassination in 1968. Bonnie Kristian

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