Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Within the District of Columbia

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Tuesday, February 28, 1995

Mrs. MORELLA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to reintroduce legislation to authorize the establishment of a memorial, on Federal land within the District of Columbia, to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Alpha Phi Alpha, which Dr. King joined in Boston on June 22, 1952, is one of the oldest African-American fraternities in the Nation. With more than 700 chapters in 42 States, its members include some of the most prominent leaders and distinguished officials within the United States. The fraternity wishes to honor Dr. King's remarkable role with a memorial in the Nation's Capitol. It is the fraternity's belief that a memorial will provide a tangible recognition that will assist in passing Dr. King's message from generation to generation. Alpha Phi Alpha will coordinate the design, construction, maintenance and funding of the monument. The bill provides that the monument be established entirely with private contributions and at no cost to the Federal Government. The Department of the Interior, in consultation with the National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Commission on Fine Arts, will select the site and approve the design.

I am very pleased to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as one of our Nation's greatest leaders in the ongoing struggle to achieve full equality for all of our citizens. In a very short lifespan of 39 years, this man created a moral, political and religious revolution that is indelible within the minds and hearts of Americans. As a man of peace, Dr. King recognized that along with freedom comes a strong measure of responsibility and accountability from all Americans. He showed us that civil rights is not just a struggle for the rights of black Americans, but a struggle to ensure the rights of all Americans. His gospel often proclaimed that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Dr. King's mission is still unfinished. Racism and inequality, distrust and misunderstanding continue to divide us as a Nation. We must continue to challenge the American conscience and strive to create economic and civil equality for all of our citizens. For the future youth of our country, a memorial will provide a tangible reminder of our Nation's history and to our relentless struggle to eliminate injustice and prejudice.

Mr. Speaker, Dr. King dedicated his life to achieving economic and civil equality for all Americans, through nonviolent means. I believe that he made an indelible impression, of what one individual can do, on the minds and hearts of all Americans. I believe that a memorial would provide a tangible symbol to our Nation's youth of this country's commitment to economic, social, and legal justice. I therefore urge my colleagues to join me in this effort to ensure that the essential principles of justice and equality among our citizenry are never forgotten.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).