Chicago's Rev. Michael Pfleger Delivers Fiery Martin Luther King Day Speech in Atlanta | NBC Chicago
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Chicago's Rev. Michael Pfleger Delivers Fiery Martin Luther King Day Speech in Atlanta

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    Chicago's Rev. Michael Pfleger traveled to Atlanta this Martin Luther King holiday to be the keynote speaker at the civil rights icon's Ebenezer Baptist Church. Mary Ann Ahern reports. (Published Monday, Jan. 16, 2017)

    Chicago's Rev. Michael Pfleger traveled to Atlanta this Martin Luther King holiday to be the keynote speaker at the civil rights icon's Ebenezer Baptist Church.

    Pfleger was chosen to deliver the speech for his work in Chicago, but the timing of the holiday celebrating Dr. King with the transition to President-elect Trump's administration took center stage.

    His remarks turned fiery at times, as he delivered sharp words to criticize Trump - in particular, for his back-and-forth with Rep. John Lewis.

    Lewis said in an interview Friday that he did not believe Trump was elected legitimately, and Trump responded by tweeting that the Atlanta congressman was "All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!"

    "Shame on you Mr. Trump," Pfleger said. "On this weekend, to disrespect an icon of the civil rights movement - on Dr. King's weekend. You, Mr. Trump, have made yourself the anchor of fake news."

    Pfleger didn't stop there, going on to call the president-elect a bully.

    "How do we tell our children bullying is wrong when we have just awarded one of the biggest bullies in this country with the presidential election?” he asked to a standing ovation.

    Pfleger said it was Dr. King's 1966 speech in Chicago's Marquette Park that mobilized him.

    "I have watched the life of one of the most prophetic preachers of our day, watched his life redefined and compromised and yes, sanitized to become more acceptable to America's palate," he said.

    "Dr. King was an uncompromising voice and it ought not to be compromised by history or redefined by individuals who fear his truth," Pfleger added. 

    Pfleger was critical not just of Trump, but other elected officials and anyone who looks the other way when it comes to Chicago's violence.

    "Where I live, we don't live with post-traumatic stress. We live with present traumatic stress, because we live in a war zone in the middle of America," he said. "Our children have become roadkill while we sit in church and pray and they're dying in our streets."

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