Entries in Martin Luther King Day Parade (3)


King Center Releases Trove of Personal Notes on MLK Day

Tom Williams/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Visitors Monday commemorated the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at his memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., marking the first holiday at the site, which opened in August.

The King Center Monday also posted about 200,000 never-before-seen documents by the slain civil rights leader on its Web site. The documents are wide ranging and give a closer look into the portfolio of  one of the world’s most revered civil rights leaders. The online archive contains materials such as King’s transcript from Harvard University, his personal notes, telegrams to President John F. Kennedy and letters to and from Vice President Richard Nixon.

In a letter to Nixon, King describes the need for a sustained grassroots movement, a message that resonates even today.

“It is almost my firm conviction that the full effect of the Civil Rights Bill will depend in large degree upon the program of a sustained mass movement on the part of Negroes,” King wrote to Nixon Aug. 30, 1957. “History has demonstrated that inadequate legislation supported by mass action can accomplish more than adequate legislation which remains unenforced for the lack of a determined mass movement.”

The archives released Monday also include such personal notes as hate mail to King, calling African-Americans “savages” and accusing the Nobel Peace Prize recipient of winning the distinguished award only because he came from America.

The archives were financed and overseen by JP Morgan Chase, which built a team of more than 200 individuals for the project.

Meanwhile, President Obama and the first family commemorated King Monday with a service project at a local school. “There’s nobody who can’t serve,” the president told volunteers of the civil rights leaders’ legacy, adding that volunteering is the best to mark this holiday.

Civil rights leaders and federal officials Monday morning laid a wreath at King’s memorial to remember the leader.

The highlight of the $120 million project, led by the King Memorial Foundation, is a 30-foot tall sculpture of King inspired by his “I have a Dream” speech.

Last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave the National Park Service a 30-day deadline to fix an inscription that shortens one of the civil rights leaders’ sayings.

The inscription now reads: “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”

But King instead said: “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness.” The quote is from a sermon titled “The Drum Major Instinct” that 39-year-old King delivered two months before he was killed, discussing how he would want to be remembered.

Poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, a leading critic of the paraphrasing, has said that the out-of-context quote makes King sound like “an arrogant twit.”

“He had no arrogance at all. He had a humility that comes from deep inside,” she told the Washington Post last year. “The ‘if’ clause that is left out is salient. Leaving it out changes the meaning completely.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


MLK Parade Plot: Washington Man Gets 32-Year Prison Sentence

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images(SPOKANE, Wash.) -- A Washington State man who pleaded guilty to planting a bomb at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade was sentenced to 32 years in prison Tuesday, despite an attempt to withdraw his guilty plea moments before sentencing.

Authorities say Kevin Harpham, 37, planted a bomb almost a year ago, setting it to blast shrapnel onto parade marchers, but it was discovered before it could be triggered.

Harpham has extensive ties to white supremacists.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


MLK Parade Pipe Bomb: Race Connection 'Inescapable', FBI Says

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(SPOKANE, Wash.) -- Federal investigators are looking at race as a possible motive in the attempted bombing of a Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane, Wash., as they hunt "armed and dangerous" suspects.

"I think the connection is virtually inescapable...that the device was planted and left there to target the marchers or bystanders," Frank Harrill, special agent in charge of the FBI's Spokane office, said late Tuesday.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 15 different "hate groups" operate in Washington state and six others just over the border in Idaho -- including the white supremacist group Aryan Nations. The FBI said the men or women responsible are being considered "armed and dangerous."

Whatever the motive, Spokane Mayor Mary Verner said the attempted bombing was "unacceptable."

"I was struck that on a day when we celebrate Dr. King, a champion of non-violence, we were faced with a significant violent threat," Verner said Tuesday. "This is unacceptable in our community, or any community."

Just half an hour before the Martin Luther King Day parade was scheduled to begin Monday, three workers spotted a suspicious package with visible wires on a bench, the FBI said.

Authorities rerouted the parade while officers from the Spokane Police Department's bomb disposal unit worked on the bomb.

"I saw the robot and when I saw the robot I told my girls to run and 'Let's get out of here,'" witness Lisa Ludeman told ABC News.

Harrill, the supervisory senior resident agent in Spokane, told ABC News the backpack was "a viable device."

"The potential for lethality was clear," Harrill said Tuesday. The local bomb squad neutralized the device, he added. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio