News / USA

US Congress Grants Top Honor to Civil Rights Leaders

US Congress Grants Top Honor to Civil Rights Leadersi
X
June 25, 2014 4:06 AM
The U.S. Congress has posthumously granted its top honor - the Congressional Gold Medal - to the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King. The two - who spent their lives working to end racial discrimination and segregation - were honored at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the landmark Civil Rights Act. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Zlatica Hoke
The U.S. Congress has posthumously granted its top honor - the Congressional Gold Medal - to the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King. The two - who spent their lives working to end racial discrimination and segregation - were honored at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the landmark Civil Rights Act.
 
Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle joined hands as they sang one of the best known tunes from the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
 
King's daughter, Bernice, who heads The King Center, based in Atlanta, and her two brothers, Martin Luther King, III, and Dexter Scott King, watched as the medal was handed to Lonnie Bunch, the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
 
"With the acquisition of this medal, the Smithsonian will ensure that as long as there is America, the courage the impact and the legacy of Martin Luther King will be honored preserved and remembered.  Thank you very much," said Bunch.
 
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called racial intolerance in the United States the cancer of injustice that was allowed to metastasize for nearly a century after the end of the Civil War.
 
"A pastor with a booming voice and a potent message helped change all of that.  Through the power of his words and the force of his example, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made those who may have wanted to look away focus on what he once called the long night of racial injustice," said McConnell.
 
The law that outlawed racial segregation and discrimination was signed on July 2, 1964, by then-U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson.  Congresswoman Marcia Fudge acknowledged his role in pushing the legislation through Congress.
 
"These servant leaders committed their lives to moving America closer to what it can be.  Due to the work of Dr. King and President Johnson, I am able to stand here today as the third African American and second woman to represent the 11th District of Ohio and I greet you on behalf of the 43 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which I am honored to chair," said Fudge.
 
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid emphasized that the battle against racism in America was not fought only in the nation's capital.
 
"The battle for civil rights was fought on bus rides through South Carolina, Mississippi, and even on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama," said Reid.
 
Events honoring the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, including exhibits, lectures, concerts and commemorations of historic dates leading up to the signing of the legislation, are taking place nationwide this year.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Troops Depart

Afghans are grappling with how exodus will affect country's fragile economy More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs