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Inauguration Day marks rare intersection with King

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm •  Published: January 18, 2013

"What a significant honor," she said. "To me, it's like another elevation for my father."

Obama also plans to honor King throughout his inaugural weekend, beginning by asking Americans to volunteer in their communities on Saturday to honor the civil right leader's legacy of service. Inaugural planners also say there will be a float honoring King in the parade to the White House after the swearing-in ceremony.

In Washington and Baltimore, however, annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parades have been moved to avoid conflicting with the inauguration. The Baltimore parade, typically a major event in the majority-black city, will be held Saturday.

The parade along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in southeast Washington has been moved to April 20, the 50-year anniversary of King's release from a Birmingham, Ala., jail.

In Montgomery, Ala., where King did some of his early civil rights work while pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, the annual parade and rally at the state Capitol are to be held as normal Monday, though some prominent black politicians will miss it because they'll be at the inauguration.

The National Civil Rights Museum — the site of the Memphis motel where King was fatally shot on a balcony on April 4, 1968 — is hosting a food drive and blood drive, and touring a new exhibit focused on African-American women in the civil rights movement. However, much of the facility is closed for renovations, and it will not host an inauguration watch party.

Bernice King, who is also president and CEO of The King Center, which is dedicated to preserving and promoting her father's legacy, said she's not worried about the inauguration drawing people away from the annual celebration at Ebenezer Baptist Church, which will include watching the inauguration on a big screen after the service.

"Everybody can't go to the inauguration," she said. "Part two of our service is this inaugural watch party, so hopefully people will not stay home, but they will come and be in an environment of other people who feel good about this moment in history. It's just going to be a great day."


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Associated Press writers Ben Nuckols in Washington, Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tenn., and Bob Johnson in Montgomery, Ala., contributed to this report.