President Donald Trump signed a bill earlier this week to make the birthplace of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a national park, and King’s niece is singing the president’s praises.
The president reportedly signed H.R. 267 in the presence of Dr. Alveda King aboard Air Force One.
“I was there on Air Force One, and I was there when the president signed the bill in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., my uncle, making that historic site here in Atlanta, Georgia, where I live, a national park,” King said in a recent interview with CBN News.
Sponsored by Democrat Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act of 2017, will create the first national park in The Peach State.
King has been an ardent supporter of Trump since the campaign, and has defended the president against accusations of racism, particularly after Trump’s response to the violence that erupted in Charlottesville, VA during the Unite the Right rally in August 2017. Some critics suggested that Trump wasn’t forceful enough in his condemnation of racism, according to CBN.
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“And so that (the signing of the bill) was not a racist act, and somebody says, ‘Well, he had to sign it.’ Well, he didn’t,” said King in a statement to CBN.
“Presidents veto bills all the time. President Trump was happy to sign that bill.”
“And so many times, President Donald John Trump has expressed admiration for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” she continued.
Trump took to Twitter to announce the new law.
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
Already a noted historical site, the Atlanta location includes the civil rights activist’s birth place, the church where he was baptized and his burial location, according to USA Today.
“Through his life and work, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made America more just and free,” said White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley, USA Today reported.
“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.”
Trump reportedly also signed the African American Civil Rights Network Act of 2017 — which requires the National Park Service to connect sites recognized as places of significance to the African American civil rights movement — as well as the 400 Years of African American History Commission Act, which recognizes when African slaves were first brought to American shores (then English colonies) in 1619, according to CBN.
The new laws, acknowledging significant points in African American history, come shortly before Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 15.
The national holiday commemorates the birth of the famed civil rights activist and reverend.
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