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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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