And on Friday, he signed a proclamation marking the holiday on Monday and encouraged "all Americans to observe this day with acts of civic work and community service in honor of Dr. King's extraordinary life".
Republican political leaders spent Monday trying to pay tribute to the man who fought his entire life, and ultimately gave his life, for social equality.
The day took on renewed meaning for descendants of black slaves owned by the Cherokee Nation but whose tribal citizenship was in flux until recently, despite a treaty guaranteeing rights equal to native Cherokees. In Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation marked Martin Luther King Jr.
"My solutions to these problems are very similar to Dr. King's", Kone continued, "I want all of our top government officials to take poverty, failing school systems and healthcare seriously".
While attending Monday's events, Duluth Human Rights Officer Carl Crawford said he encourages people to pause to recognize King and for families "to sit together and really talk" about what King's dream means for them.
She added: "We are one people, one nation, one blood, one destiny".
"I mean, Dr. King was a victim of police brutality".
Dalila Missoh, a junior French and international relations major, led a group of three other students as they helped move furniture, rake leaves and clean windows at the St. Thomas More Newman Center.
Residents say it's more than just a day to them, it's continuing his legacy everyday.
Rev. Joh called on all people to "embrace each other". Sit down at the table. But on Monday he decided it would be a good idea for him to post on Twitter a quote and picture from MLK. Trump has said that is not the language he used.
Across the street, the smaller pro-Trump contingent waved US flags and Trump campaign posters.
The professor shared a quote from King: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere".
Trump's decision to refrain from doing community service marks a departure from tradition observed by his recent predecessors. Master of Ceremonies Jay Lloyd joyfully made mention of the road name change to a round of applause from those gathered, and recounted how as a young boy in Washington, D.C. going with his father to help build Resurrection City in preparation for King's 'I Have a Dream' speech.
"Our outrage, our activism, is more important now than it's ever been", said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.