WASHINGTON (ABC) — President-elect Donald Trump is calling on Americans to honor Martin Luther King Jr. for “all of the many wonderful things that he stood for.”
Trump, who is scheduled to meet with King’s grandson later in the day, may be trying to put behind him the controversy over his criticism of John Lewis, a black congressman and civil rights icon.
In a message sent on Twitter on Monday, Trump said: “Celebrate Martin Luther King Day and all of the many wonderful things that he stood for. Honor him for being the great man that he was!”
Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia, had angered Trump by calling him an “illegitimate president” and saying he would not attend the inauguration.
Residents of Memphis, Tennessee — the city where civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed — are honoring his legacy with neighborhood events and a daylong celebration at the National Civil Rights Museum.
Volunteers on Monday fanned out across Memphis neighborhoods where blight is a major problem to take part in a “MLK Day of Service.” They picked up litter and trash along streets, at blighted homes, in empty lots and in parks in historic neighborhoods such as Orange Mound and Soulsville.
Visitors to the National Civil Rights Museum gathered for performances, youth-centered educational programs, a blood donation drive and a food drive.
King was killed while standing on a balcony at the old Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. The motel has been turned into the National Civil Rights Museum.
Civil rights leaders and activists are gathering at sites across the country to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
On the same day that Americans celebrate King’s legacy, his son is scheduled to meet President-elect Donald Trump. Martin Luther King III will meet with Trump at Trump Tower in New York.
The meeting comes amid lingering tensions between the president-elect and Congressman John Lewis. Lewis is the civil rights leader who called Trump an “illegitimate president” and said he will not attend the inauguration.
Trump responded on Twitter that Lewis is “all talk” and said his Atlanta-based district is “falling apart.”
In Atlanta, a commemoration at King’s storied Ebenezer Baptist Church will be headlined by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.