Administration Wants More Money For King's Birthplace

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - Vice President Al Gore, speaking Monday at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in honor of Martin Luther King's birthday, said the Clinton administration will ask Congress for more money to preserve King's birthplace. King was born at his family's Atlanta home on January 15, 1929.

Gore announced at the memorial service, "Today, on Doctor King's birthday, we will ask Congress for one-and-a-half million dollars to preserve and maintain his birthplace, which is literally the cradle of the civil rights movement We must honor and uphold the dreamer. For we have come many miles toward justice but have not yet fulfilled the dream."

Gore also announced that as part of the administration's "Save America's Treasures" initiative, more money will be on the way to preserve the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where King was ordained as a Baptist minister in February, 1948.

"I can announce that, in addition to the half-million dollars we committed last year through our Save America's Treasures initiative, another half-million dollars in private funds has now been donated to restore this house of worship and conserve it as the national treasure it is, for as long as this nation exists," Gore said.

America, according to Gore, "still needs the soaring dream of Martin Luther King."

"Martin, where are you? We need your prophetic voice and we hear it now, even from the grave, the words and the ideals that will never die. 'We Shall Overcome' must be more than a memory from the past. It must be a resolve to find the true America at last. 'We Shall Overcome' has got be more than a frame of mind; it must be a commitment to leave no child behind. 'We Shall Overcome' has got be more than a freedom song; it must be a God-given faith that right will conquer wrong. 'We Shall Overcome' has got to be more than a line we sing; it must be a fight to make things right, so all God's children, can hear the freedom bell ring," Gore said.

"We Shall Overcome" was chanted by civil rights marchers and eventually became the anthem of the civil rights movement during the 1960's.

King was ordained as a minister at the Ebenezer Baptist Church at the age of nineteen. Following his ordination, he because Assistant Pastor of Ebenezer.

After completing his education at Boston University, he became minister of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, and was in that post from September, 1954 to November, 1959. It was in Montgomery where King became involved in the civil rights movement starting with the Montgomery Bus Boycott from 1955 to 1956.

He then resigned his post in Montgomery to move to Atlanta to direct the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). From 1960 until his death in 1968, he was co-pastor with his father at Ebenezer Baptist Church and President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

King was arrested thirty times for his non-violent participation in civil rights activities.