Tombstone for Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King at MLK Historic Site in Atlanta. Both were posthumously honored June 24 with the distinguished Congressional Gold Medal, during a special ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.(courtesy photo)
Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., speaks during an interview at the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change on Jan. 13, 2004. (photo, Associated Press)
On June 24 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, officials at The King Center recently announced. The King Center CEO, Dr. Bernice A. King, as well as her brothers, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King will join 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 will be held at 3:00 p.m. 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.”
Responding to the announcement that her parents would receive the Congressional Gold Medal, Bernice A. King, said “We are deeply honored that my father and mother, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, are being given this award in recognition of their tireless and sacrificial leadership to advance freedom and justice through nonviolence in our nation.”
Dr. King acknowledged that she was especially pleased that her mother, Coretta Scott King, was designated as a co-recipient of the honor. She 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.” She concluded by saying, “I really believe my mother is also deserving of this honor because she was an unwavering champion who advanced social justice for all of humanity throughout her entire life.”
The Congressional Gold Medal is considered one of the most distinguished honors bestowed by the Congress. Other recipients include George Washington, Mother Theresa, Dorothy Height, Rosa Parks, Thomas Edison, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, President Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Dr. Jonas Salk.