BLACK VOICES

MLK Historical Park Closed On MLK's Birthday Due To Shutdown

MLK Day is just around the corner, and the shutdown has no end in sight.
Martin Luther King Jr. served as a preacher at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta for eight years, until his 1968 assass
Martin Luther King Jr. served as a preacher at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta for eight years, until his 1968 assassination.

Another day, another unfortunate consequence of the partial government shutdown. On Tuesday, those who wished to visit Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park to celebrate the civil rights icon’s 90th birthday were out of luck, as the park remained closed.

The Atlanta site encompasses the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King served as co-pastor alongside his father for eight years, along with a museum and the home where King was born, on Jan. 15, 1929. 

As is the case with other national parks across the country, officials said in a statement that the MLK park is closed “for the protection of park resources and the safety of visitors.” It may be for the best: While hundreds of parks have been closed since the shutdown began Dec. 22, the ones left open have seen heaps of trash pile up, with few staffers left on duty to take care of the problem.

King’s burial site, which is run by his family, remains open nearby. 

Celebrated on the third Monday of January ― Jan. 21 this year ― Martin Luther King Jr. Day usually is the busiest time of year for the park, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Would-be visitors will likely be out of luck next week too, as there is no clear end in sight for the government shutdown, which is due to President Donald Trump’s demand for a border wall.

Trump has said he will not agree to a spending package that would fully reopen the government unless it contains more than $5 billion for a wall along the border with Mexico. While Democratic leaders in Congress have agreed to provide funding for border security measures, they refuse to fund the wall.  

HuffPost readers: Are you affected by the government shutdown? Email us about it. If you’re willing to be interviewed, please provide a phone number.

CONVERSATIONS