ATLANTA (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is invoking the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. as he tries to increase black support in his bid to catch Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Campaigning in the slain civil rights leader's hometown of Atlanta on Monday, the Vermont senator paid his respect at the slain civil rights leader's crypt and visited privately with one of King's children, Bernice King, at the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change.
After the meeting, Sanders said Martin Luther King Jr. has been "an inspiration to me for my entire life," not just for his work to end racial segregation but because of his demands -- often less remembered -- for economic opportunity for all Americans, the central theme of Sanders' presidential campaign.
Former Secretary of State Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has built a lead in the early voting states, gains that have come amid other signs the party is coalescing behind her. But the nomination fight is far from over as Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley try to garner more support.
Sanders, 74, participated in the famous 1963 march that concluded with King's "I Have a Dream" speech, noted that the event was officially "The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom."
"Sometimes people forget he was assassinated because he stood up with sanitation workers fighting for decent wages and decent working conditions," Sanders said, referring to King being shot in 1968 in Memphis, where he went to support striking workers.
Sanders added that King was, at the time of his death, planning another march for the poor.
"It was a march not just of African-Americans, but of Latinos, of whites, of all people in this country to march on Washington to demand fundamental changes in our national priorities," said Sanders, who calls on the campaign trail for a "political revolution" in the U.S.
Bernice King did not take questions after she met with Sanders.
The visit to the King Center comes as part of a campaign swing through Southern states who will vote early in the nominating contest next year. Clinton has maintained a considerable advantage among African-Americans voters, who form the backbone of the Democratic electorate in Deep South states from South Carolina to Louisiana.
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