One week shy of the annual observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Ebenezer Baptist Church, the civil rights leader’s burial site and his birth home have all been upgraded from a national historic site to a national historic park.
According to NBC, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park Act was signed into law by President Trump on Monday. The act is one of the highest designations within the National Park Service.
On Twitter, Trump called it his “great honor” to sign the bill.
Democratic Rep. John Lewis sponsored the bill, saying he is “so proud that we were able to work in a bipartisan, bicameral manner” to establish the state of Georgia’s first National Historical Park ahead of not just King’s birthday, but the 50th anniversary of his death.
“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,” Lewis said in a statement posted to his website.
The Prince Hall Masonic Temple is also included in the law, and according to Lewis, the Temple donated land to the National Park Service in order to ensure the continuance of King’s legacy and that of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
In addition creating the first national historic park in Georgia, but the upgrade also enhances how “the National Park Service preserves, shares, and presents the history of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr,” Lewis said in the statement.
“Throughout his life, Dr. King urged each and every one of us to recognize the dignity and worth of every human being,” Lewis wrote. “He was my friend, my mentor, and my big brother, and I never expected to have the honor and privilege of representing his place of birth and the spaces where he planned a movement — which changed the face and trajectory of our nation.”
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