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California IN BRIEF : SAN DIEGO : King Doesn't Deserve Holiday, Duke Says

January 22, 1992|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Martin Luther King Jr. does not deserve a national holiday in his name, partly because he plagiarized his doctoral thesis, presidential candidate David Duke said in a radio talk show. "He shouldn't even be a doctor, and his doctoral degree should be taken away from him," Duke said in a telephone interview with KFMB-AM radio one day after the King holiday. "I just think it's a slap in the face to the American people that he would be given an exclusive holiday over George Washington, Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson or Teddy Roosevelt." Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader who has run for governor and the U.S. Senate in Louisiana, also suggested that King's personal life made him unfit for a holiday in his honor. Duke said he agreed with some of King's ideas, including civil rights, and believes in "the idea that a person should be judged by their merits and ability, rather than their race." But he said King's ideals have led to reverse discrimination against whites in the workplace and in schools.

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