WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional leaders commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act on Tuesday by posthumously bestowing the Congressional Gold Medal upon Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, for their efforts in passing the landmark legislation.
The Kings’ children, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King and Bernice A. King, accepted the honor in the Capitol Rotunda as several hundred looked on. The civil rights leader was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968. His wife died in 2006.
“The Civil Rights Act transformed our country,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said. “It made America more American.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964. It helped end legal discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion and national origin, and many consider it the most significant law to come out of the civil rights movement.
Among those joining Pelosi in praising the Civil Rights Act and the people who made it happen were Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.
Throughout the lawmakers’ remarks were calls for a return to the bipartisanship that made laws like the Civil Rights Act possible.
Remembering the civil rights activists who marched, protested and faced brutality and violence is vital, the lawmakers said. But they added that it was important to remember the lawmakers who made passage possible.
Boehner said the Civil Rights Act might be the “most fundamental, the most consequential legislation” in American history. McConnell said that Martin Luther King Jr. deserves as much credit as any lawmaker in getting the law passed.
“His role was not just to expose or to confront injustice, but to prepare the country to actually do something about it,” McConnell said.
It was the second Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the Kings for their contributions to the civil rights movement. The previous medal was awarded in 2004.
Bernice King said in a statement that she and her brothers were deeply honored that their parents were recognized for their “tireless and sacrificial leadership to advance freedom and justice.”
The King siblings have been locked in a legal dispute over the ownership of King’s Bible and Nobel Peace Prize. The Martin Luther King Jr. Estate Inc., which is run by Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King, wants to sell the items, while Bernice is opposed to the sale. Their eldest sibling, Yolanda King, died in 2007.
The Congressional Gold Medal will be held in the newest Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is expected to open next year.
“The Smithsonian will ensure that as long as there is an America, the courage, the impact and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King will be honored, preserved and remembered,” said Lonnie Bunch, the founding director of the museum.
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(Photo Source: AP)
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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