ATLANTA — A pro-life event at the Martin Luther King Jr. historic site was disrupted by officials July 24.
Participants in the “Freedom Rides for the Unborn” rally — more than 100 pro-life supporters — were kept from rallying on the federal park surrounding the gravesite of the black civil-rights activist.
Meanwhile, pro-choice opponents who showed up were ushered onto the grounds for a counter rally.
Organized by Priests for Life and Martin Luther King’s pro-life niece Alveda King, who heads the organization’s African-American Outreach, the event brought about 30 pro-life black pastors and a busload of supporters, accompanied by King and Father Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, from Alabama to the King Center in Atlanta in emulation of the civil-rights Freedom Rides of the 1960s.
The Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, founded by the King family, is part of a National Historic Site under the National Park Service, so both King Center staff and Park Service personnel were present at the event.
Free Speech Obstructed
When King and Father Pavone arrived with the Freedom Riders, they were denied access to the King tomb by King Center staff.
When Park Service staff finally allowed King onto the federal property surrounding the center, she managed to get to the gravesite via a back way.
When she was stopped by the King Center’s CEO, John Mack, King was distressed enough by the obstruction that she climbed into a reflecting pool beside the grave and declared, “Okay, lock me up, but explain to my uncle why you locked me up; explain to my father why you locked me up … explain to Jesus why you locked me up.”
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