Park Service acquires Martin Luther King Jr. home in Atlanta

Park Service acquires Martin Luther King Jr. home in Atlanta
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The National Park Service has taken ownership of an Atlanta home where civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. lived for years.

The National Parks Foundation bought the house in the Vine City neighborhood with philanthropic help and donated it to the Park Service this month, the two said in a Thursday statement. It happened days before King’s birthday, despite most of the agency being furloughed due to the partial government shutdown.

The Park Service had taken ownership last year of the house elsewhere in Atlanta where King was born in 1929, also via a donation from the foundation.

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Both houses are now part of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, and the agency plans to make them accessible to the public for the first time.

“The addition of the homes where Dr. King was born and where he raised his family with Coretta Scott King provides the National Park Service sacred spaces to more fully tell the story of Dr. King’s life and legacy,” Daniel Smith, the Park Service’s deputy director and top official, said in a statement.

“African American history is U.S. history, and the family home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King is a touchstone for us all to better understand our shared heritage,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation.

“The acquisition of both Dr. King’s birth home and the family home he shared with Coretta Scott King and their children advances the National Park Foundation’s commitment to telling a more comprehensive American story through national parks.”

Apart from the two homes where King lived, the park includes King’s grave site and the Ebenezer Baptist Church, among other properties.

It was a historic site until last year, when President TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE signed a law upgrading its status to that of a park.