The King Center is pleased to announce that on June 24th Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King posthumously received a Congressional Gold Medal, during a special ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The King Center CEO, Dr. Bernice A. King, as well as her brothers, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King joined with Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), and other Senate and House leaders in commemorating this historic occasion. The ceremony was held in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. The Congressional Gold Medal “represents Congress’ highest expression of appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions to our nation.”
Following the ceremony and the award of the Congressional Gold Medal to her parents, Bernice A. King said “What an amazing day. This is the first honor of this magnitude where my parents are honored together, reflecting the powerful partnership they shared in the struggle for freedom and justice. It is so fitting, especially because my mother often said, ‘that she did not just marry the man she loved, she married the mission and the movement’ and understood her role in their partnership.” She continued by saying, “I had the privilege to work with my mother as she helped to design the images and wording for the medal. She was very excited about being honored with such a prestigious award alongside her lifetime partner and was looking forward to receiving it. Well, today she is rejoicing with Daddy in heaven.”
Dr. King further stated that “As Founder of The King Center, my mother was really the driving force that kept my father’s nonviolent leadership philosophy and legacy at the forefront of the consciousness of our nation and the world. Also, it was my father who recognized that she was a courageous partner, and acknowledged on many occasions that without her strength and unflagging dedication to the cause, he could never have made it from day to day through the movement.”
For more than two centuries the Congressional Gold Medal has been one of the most distinguished honors bestowed by the Congress. Since 1776, the award has also been given to such diverse individuals as George Washington; Mother Theresa; Dorothy Height; Rosa Parks; Thomas Edison; Sen. Robert F. Kennedy; President Nelson Mandela; the Dalai Lama; Dr. Jonas Salk and many others.