The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded posthumously to Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King for their efforts in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will help preserve their legacy by accepting the Congressional Gold Medal into its collection.
The Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award given by the U.S. Congress, was presented in a special ceremony June 24 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. Bernice A. King and her brothers, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King, joined Lonnie Bunch, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Congressman John Lewis, D-Ga., Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, and other Senate and House leaders in commemorating this historic occasion in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. The gold medals are awarded each year to recognize individual achievements.
“With the acquisition of this medal, the museum will ensure that the Kings’ courage, impact and legacy will be honored, preserved and remembered,” said Bunch. “There are few things as noble as honoring all of our ancestors by remembering.”
The National Museum of African American History and Culture was established by an Act of Congress in 2003 making it the 19th museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Scheduled to open in 2016, it is under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on a five-acre tract adjacent to the Washington Monument. Currently, the museum is hosting public programs, assembling collections and presenting exhibitions at other museums across the country and at its own gallery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. More information can be found on the museum’s website.