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The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963. The march was organized to support proposed civil rights legislation and end segregation. King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, advocating nonviolent action against America's racial inequality. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, King was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968. (AP Photo)

Delta Air Lines grant to keep Martin Luther King Jr. national park open despite government shutdown


WASHINGTON (CIRCA) — The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park, which has been closed due to the government shutdown, will temporarily re-open over the civil rights leader's birthday, thanks to a grant from the Delta Air Lines Foundation and National Park Service fees.

The $83,500 grant will help re-open the park from Saturday morning to Feb. 3, just in time for the upcoming federal holiday on Monday. The 53-acre park contains several important landmarks and is operated by the National Park Service, a division of the Department of the Interior, which is currently shut down, awaiting funding from Congress.

"These historic landmarks represent the strength of our community and should always be made available for the public to enjoy," said Delta CEO Ed Bastian in a post on LinkedIn.

Located in the heart of Atlanta, the park typically draws politicians, civil rights leaders, and large crowds of visitors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Notable landmarks include King's birth home at 501 Auburn Ave., Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Fire Station No. 6. King and his father preached at Ebenezer from 1960 to 1968, and it continues to hold services today. Fire Station No. 6, which served King's neighborhood for nearly 100 years, is maintained as a historical site and is undergoing plans to be converted into a museum.

Delta itself expects to suffer from the shutdown to the tune of $25 million, Bastian told CNBC on Tuesday. He broke the news shortly after the company posted strong fourth-quarter earnings.

But it's not just Delta that is feeling the effects of the shutdown. Airlines nationwide have been blocked from introducing new routes and jets as they await approval from furloughed government officials.

With Congress and the White House still at odds over funding for President Donald Trump's border wall, there is currently no end in sight for the government shutdown.


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