- Associated Press - Monday, January 16, 2017

ATLANTA (AP) - The Latest on celebrations across the country for Martin Luther King Jr. Day (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Ohio’s governor says Americans shouldn’t focus so much on the highest-level people when there are ways to tackle many societal problems at the local and individual levels.

Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) spoke Monday in Atlanta at the King Center on the holiday honoring its namesake, Martin Luther King Jr.

Kasich says King got the attention of people in power through a “bottom-up” approach worth emulating. Kasich says efforts such as addressing drug use and improving education need people committed at the community level.

He also says it’s important to keep an open mind.

It was a message of cooperation from a governor who has dealt with division within his own party recently. Kasich is the Republicans’ only 2016 presidential contender who didn’t fall in line behind President-elect Donald Trump.


7 p.m.

Several thousand people walked through snowy Denver to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in the city’s 31st annual “marade”.

The Denver Post (https://dpo.st/2jhlHLm ) reports that the crowd that made its way down the city’s main street, Colfax Avenue, Monday chanted and held up signs expressing love for King and opposition to Donald Trump.

The crowd was smaller than in the last two years. Organizer Vern Howard blamed the weather and a disruption last year by Black Lives Matters.

This year during opening speeches by lawmakers, some in the crowd heckled Republican congressman Mike Coffman because of his vote to repeal the federal health care law. He continued speaking and participated in the marade.

Denver got several inches of snow but it eased by the time of the marade.


Hundreds of Minnesota residents have marched through downtown St. Paul to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Afterward, city and state leaders spoke at the Ordway Center on Monday about the progress the country as made, as well as the inequalities that still exist.

Speakers included U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. Poverty, justice and discrimination were among the topics.

Klobuchar said income inequality, the achievement gap and an unfair criminal justice system still trouble the U.S., and creating change is never simple.

Students from Maple Grove High School, the site of racist graffiti that sprung up after the election of Donald Trump in November, spoke about their efforts to organize a student walkout.


5:20 p.m.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s memory by painting a mural at a family shelter in Washington.

The Obamas joined residents of the Jobs Have Priority Naylor Road Family Shelter to paint a display of the slain civil rights activist on a wall in the community room. The mural features a large rendering of King’s face surrounded by butterflies, under the words “Wall of Hope.”

Obama was working on a butterfly and told reporters he was just trying to get it right.

The shelter is also where the Obamas donated the swing set they installed on the White House South Lawn in 2009 for their daughters when Malia and Sasha were younger.

Obama leaves office Friday.


4 p.m.

A Mississippi city has decided to rename the holiday it called “Great Americans Day” to honor slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

The Biloxi City Council voted 6-0 to make the change Monday. The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/2jspo2W ) the vote came moments before the beginning of an annual parade honoring the slain civil rights leader.

Monday was a federal holiday and was recognized in most of the United States as Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

However, in three states - Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas - the holiday has a dual designation honoring King and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The change follows an uproar on social media that erupted after a Biloxi spokesman posted that city offices would be closed for Great Americans Day. The name came from a city ordinance adopted in 1985 - two years after the federal holiday was created.


1:40 p.m.

Bicyclists in Detroit have marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day by pedaling to sites connected to a historic visit the slain civil rights leader made to the city.

About 300 bicyclists participated in Monday’s free 10-mile ride, which took in such sites as downtown Detroit’s Cobo Center. That’s where King gave an early version of his “I Have a Dream” speech in June 1963.

He also led more than 100,000 marchers down Woodward Avenue in what was called the “Great Walk to Freedom,” about two months before he delivered his famous speech in Washington, D.C.

The tour took place in 30-degree weather, but sleet fell on riders toward the end.

It is one of several events being held in the area and state to honor King.


12:30 p.m.

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 son 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.


11:50 a.m.

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.


This story corrects that Trump will meet King’s son, not grandson, in 2nd paragraph of first entry

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