Martin Luther King Jr’s eldest son has condemned Donald Trump’s comments about immigrants from African countries, saying: "We got to find a way to work on this man’s heart."
Speaking in Washington DC, Martin Luther King III said: "When a president insists that our nation needs more citizens from white states like Norway, I don’t think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is."
His sister, the Rev Bernice King, also took aim at Mr Trump, remarking: "We cannot allow the nations of the world to embrace the words that come from our president as a reflection of the true spirit of America."
At gatherings across the nation, activists, residents and teachers honoured the late civil rights leader on what would have been his 89th birthday and ahead of the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee.
At a service in Atlanta, the Rev King said: "We are one people, one nation, one blood, one destiny. ... All of civilisation and humanity originated from the soils of Africa.
"Our collective voice in this hour must always be louder than the one who sometimes does not reflect the legacy of my father."
Mr Trump insisted he is not a racist, and said the Rev Martin Luther King’s dream of a colourblind society is the American dream.
He dedicated his weekly address to King. Mr Trump spent Monday’s King federal holiday in Florida with no public appearances on his official schedule, but he tweeted the radio and video address to his followers.
In it he said that King’s dream of a colourblind society offers dignity and hope to every American, regardless of colour or creed.
"Dr. King's dream is our dream. It is the American Dream. It's the promise stitched into the fabric of our Nation, etched into the hearts of our people, and written into the soul of humankind." pic.twitter.com/tyUZGTecDY— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 15, 2018
The president marked his first King holiday in office buffeted by claims that he used a vulgarity to describe African countries and questioned the need to allow more Haitians into the US.
In Atlanta, the pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Rev Raphael Warnock, urged those who packed the pews to honour King to speak out against racism.
He also took issue with Mr Trump’s campaign slogan to "Make America Great Again".
America "is already great ... in large measure because of Africa and African people", said Rev Warnock, urging people to speak out against such remarks about other countries, echoing King’s own words that "silence is betrayal".