John Lewis revives bid to bolster fed protection of MLK site

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. John Lewis is renewing an effort to upgrade federal protections for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in downtown Atlanta, a bipartisan endeavor that could face resistance from the White House given the Democrat’s recent scuffles with President Donald Trump.

The civil rights hero and 16-term lawmaker has pushed for years to designate the site as a national historic park, a reclassification his office says would draw more federal resources such as park rangers, educational programming and community grants.

Lewis’ bill would also add the Prince Hall Masonic Building, which served as the headquarters of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, to the sprawling campus that currently houses King’s birth home, the Ebenezer Baptist Church and a visitor center. King was the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which trained many of the civil rights movement’s leaders and spearheaded voter registration drives and education initiatives.

“It’s important for people to know about what happened during the latter part of the 20th century and the impact that Atlanta and Martin Luther King Jr. had on not just Atlanta, but America and the world,” Lewis said about the bill in an interview last spring.

Video: Plans to expand Georgia’s national parklands

The House is expected to debate the bill and easily pass it Wednesday. From there, it will go to the Senate, where similar legislation languished last year as the election sucked up much of the political oxygen on Capitol Hill.

The legislation is not considered controversial since its costs are negligible and the bill itself is a commemorative one, but its fortune may ultimately depend on how well Lewis is getting along with Trump, since the bill does need the president’s signature.

The two haven’t exactly been buddies lately.

Lewis drew Trump’s wrath on Twitter back in January when he said he didn’t see the then-president elect as “legitimate.” Trump responded that Lewis “should spend more time on fixing and helping his district” rather than criticizing him.

 


 

The rebuke led Lewis to boycott the president’s inauguration and Trump’s speech to Congress last week.

Finding time in the Senate will also be an issue as the chamber continues to churn through Cabinet nominations and soon the GOP’s legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

If signed by the president, the measure would create Georgia’s first national park. It’s one of several bills winding its way through Congress that would give new federal designations to historic sites in Georgia.

One passed by the House in January would expand the boundaries of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.

Read more:

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Georgia parks on path to grow in size, standing in national system

Proposals for Georgia’s national parklands

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Reader Comments 0

28 comments
Richard Cowan
Richard Cowan

You better watch John Lewis the racist pig don't try to sell it

Ellen Davidson
Ellen Davidson

What about the historical sites torn down across America daily that Mr. Lewis cheers for? ALL Historic sites should be protected not just black ones.

Erik Moore
Erik Moore

^^ best internet fail of the day ^^

Ellen Davidson
Ellen Davidson

Issac Reid Hep was in favor of defacing Stone Mtn. and I am sure he would not act if they started tearing them down in Atlanta.

Issac Reid
Issac Reid

Ellen Davidson where did you get this info. The stupidity stops here

Nolan Sims
Nolan Sims

protect it from what? sounds like more liberal spending of our federal tax dollars!

Issac Reid
Issac Reid

Nolan Sims did you Ser what happened to Jewish sites. Stupidity

Nolan Sims
Nolan Sims

Issac Reid but, i thought you liberals wanted no walls or protection from people who want to do harm

Paul Gibson
Paul Gibson

I'm amazed so many are still ignorant about the civil war.

Harry K. James
Harry K. James

He is no hero. In fact he has become an embarrassment to the King Legacy.

Monte Poitevint
Monte Poitevint

They are hell-bent to destroy my heritage. Why should I give two hoots for the preservation of theirs?

Mark Cosby
Mark Cosby

Your 'heritage' was a con job pulled by aristocratic slave owning whites to convince poor whites to go against their own best interests in the name of preserving a way of life that was enriching the few at the expense of the many. Seems it's still going on.

Ellen Davidson
Ellen Davidson

Mark CosbyYou are I'll informed and believe that the constitution should only protect what you like and believe in, it should protect all our history. You are projecting your Hate onto the flag, the flag does not stand for hate no matter what bigots like you believe.

Jay Smallwood
Jay Smallwood

Funny.....i dont see kluckers smashing and spray painting the memorial..not unlike the Black Supremacists do to Confederate memorials..

Connor Dylan
Connor Dylan

Dr King fought for equal rights. The Confederate army fought for the exact opposite. Why would someone have any reason to deface memorials to a completely non-violent person?

Jay Smallwood
Jay Smallwood

And connor....i believe it was people like Lewis and Jackson and Sharpton who took the great deeds and Sacrifices of the Greatest Georgian Who Ever Lived and made an industry from it..they made themselves wealthy riding in on Kings coattails....wouldnt ne surprised if they paid the assassin who killed him...

Jason Rains
Jason Rains

Kind of weird to be jumping to the KKK's defense out of the blue on this.

Nelms Graham
Nelms Graham

Connor Dylan Or you don't know whatt your talking about.

Jay Smallwood
Jay Smallwood

Heres my point....if your gonna want fed assistance in protecting monuments it should be offered to all memorials to historical signifigance....and the Confederacy actually freed slaves before the Emancipation Proclaimation..and a lot more was at stake than the slaves in that war...even the Tyrant Lincoln said to preserve the Union hed let the slaves stay in bondage...and Ulysses Grant got to keep his slaves Lee didnt have slaves...and Forrest didnt start the kkk...he was just blamed for it....look up the " most hated man in Tennessee" MATLOCK... You shouldnt live in a land where you cant stand its people remembering what was done in their own. Way MATLOCK!!

Jay Smallwood
Jay Smallwood

And connor....i believe it was people like Lewis and Jackson and Sharpton who took the great deeds and Sacrifices of the Greatest Georgian Who Ever Lived and made an industry from it..they made themselves wealthy riding in on Kings coattails....wouldnt ne surprised if they paid the assassin who killed him...

Jason Rains
Jason Rains

Did you say Robert E. Lee didn't have slaves??

David Kam Hudder
David Kam Hudder

Lee freed his wife's inherited slaves 10 years before the northern war of aggression