President Barack Obama has finally gotten comfy in his new digs with an overhaul of the Oval Office. And he couldn't have better timing -- the president added several touches saluting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. just as the nation is set to celebrate Martin Luther King Day.
The AP's tour of the Oval Office renovation came almost a full year after Obama took office because the president opted for gradual change rather than a major upgrade. Obama has added both a bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a framed program of the 1963 March on Washington. The unwrapping of the Oval Office came at the perfect time, since the federal observance of the civil rights hero's birthday is Monday, January 18 this year.
The framed program from the March on Washington, originally part of the decor of Obama's Senate office, lays out the events of the day, including Dr. Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The first large integrated protest march of its kind, it the August 28th event was officially dubbed the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and attracted 250,000 people. Dr. Martin Luther King delivered the speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C., not far from the Oval Office.
The rally featured Mrs. Medgar Evers, wife of the assassinated field secretary for the NAACP, Rabbi Uri Miller of the Synagogue Council of America and singer Marian Anderson, among others; Dr. King was near the bottom of the agenda -- although his appearance is perhaps the best-remembered part of the afternoon.
Last year President Obama paid tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his birthday by volunteering at a shelter for homeless youth on MLK Day -- just one day before he was to be inaugurated as the nation's first black president. In that vein, the Corporation for National and Community Service is calling for Dr. King's birthday to become the Martin Luther King Day of Service.