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Civil Rights Leader Wants Camden House Designated Historic

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis is lending his voice to those seeking an official historic designation for the Camden house where it's believed Dr. Martin Luther King Junior once stayed.

(credit: Mike DeNardo)

Lewis is in the area to receive the Liberty Medal tonight in Philadelphia.

Georgia Congressman John Lewis stood in front of the dilapidated, boarded-up rowhouse at 753 Walnut Street in Camden, and endorsed the effort to have the house designated historic.

"I think it's important for this city, for this state and for our nation to save this noble place where Martin Luther King Junior stayed."

Historians say King stayed there from 1948 to 1951 when he studied at Crozer Theological Seminary in Upland, Pennsylvania.

It was during that time when reports say he staged his first sit-in in 1950 at a Maple Shade restaurant where he was denied service.

New Jersey's historic preservation office is still considering the application.

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