King children criticise Trump, decry racism on MLK holiday

2018-01-16 12:22
Haitian community members protest near US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins, Palm Beach Post via AP)

Haitian community members protest near US President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach. (Damon Higgins, Palm Beach Post via AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Atlanta – Two of Martin Luther King Jr.'s children and the pastor of his historic Atlanta church marked the national King holiday on Monday with sharp denunciations of US President Donald Trump, focusing on disparaging remarks he is said to have made about African countries and Haitian immigrants. Angry pro-Haiti protesters and Trump supporters yelled at each other from opposite sides of a street near the president's Florida resort.

At gatherings across the nation, activists, residents and teachers honoured the late civil rights leader on what would have been his 89th birthday and ahead of the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. But in the many speeches delivered from pulpits and podiums across the country, Trump's name came up nearly as often as King's, with speakers indicating that his turbulent presidency was undermining efforts to ease racial tensions in the US.

The president spent his first Martin Luther King Jr. Day in office buffeted by claims that during a meeting with senators on immigration last week, he used a vulgarity to describe African countries and questioned the need to allow more Haitians into the US. He also is said to have asked why the country couldn't have more immigrants from nations like Norway.

In Washington, King's eldest son, Martin Luther King III, criticised Trump, saying, "When a president insists that our nation needs more citizens from white states like Norway, I don't even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is".

He added, "We got to find a way to work on this man's heart."

In Atlanta, King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, told hundreds of people who packed the pews of the Ebenezer Baptist Church that 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".

"We are one people, one nation, one blood, one destiny. ... All of civilisation and humanity originated from the soils of Africa," Bernice King said. "Our collective voice in this hour must always be louder than the one who sometimes does not reflect the legacy of my father."

America 'is already great'

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".

Down the street from Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday, Haitian protesters and Trump supporters yelled at each other from opposing corners. Trump was staying at the resort for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Video posted by WPEC-TV showed several hundred pro-Haiti demonstrators yelling from one side of the street on Monday while waving Haitian flags. The Haitians and their supporters shouted "Our country is not a shithole", referring to comments the president reportedly made. 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.

Trump dedicated his weekly address to the nation, released on Monday, to King.

"Dr. King's dream is our dream, it is the American dream, it's the promise stitched into the fabric of our nation, etched into the hearts of our people and written into the soul of humankind," he said in the address, which he tweeted to his followers. "It is the dream of a world where people are judged by who they are, not how they look or where they come from."

The president's remarks appeared not to resonate with the Rev. Al Sharpton, who also used the holiday to take aim at the racial rhetoric Trump is said to have used.

"Trump Tower is in the wrong state," Sharpton told a crowd of 200 at the National Action Network in Harlem. He said it was embarrassing that Trump is from New York. "What we're going to do about Donald Trump is going to be the spirit of Martin Luther King Day," he said.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  martin luther king jr  |  us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.