Rep. John Lewis Receives Major Award on 45th Anniversary of King Assassination

Apr 4, 2013 Issues: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

                ATLANTA-Tomorrow at the culmination of a series of programs hosted by Georgia Institute of Technology, Rep. John Lewis will receive the Ivan Allen Jr. Prize for Social Courage.  The ceremonies will take place on the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.—April 4, 1968.  Lewis will speak about the legacy of Dr. King in his speech at Georgia Tech tomorrow and discuss one of the last sermons Dr. King delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church. 

                Upon reflecting on the meaning of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death 45 years later. Rep. Lewis released this statement:

                “I will never forget that day,” Rep. Lewis said,  “April 4, 1968.  I was in Indianapolis working with Robert Kennedy’s campaign for president.  I had heard that King had been shot but it was Robert Kennedy who informed us that Dr. King was dead.  That  was a sad and dark hour, not only for me, but for hundreds and thousands of people around the world.

                “When Dr. King was killed, something died in America and something died within many of us.  This man gave us hope in a time of hopelessness and deliverance in a time of despair.  He lifted us from the valley of hatred to the highest mountain of love, peace and goodwill.  If Dr. King were alive today, he would say there is still too much violence in this world; there are too many killings.  We need to question our belief that violence can resolve any of our problems, he would say, and we need to stop the proliferation of guns.

                “He would remind us that ends and means are inseparable.  Darkness cannot put out darkness, he would say, only light can do that.  Hatred cannot stamp out hate, only love can do that.  Violence cannot end violence, only peace can do that.  If peace, love and human unity are truly our goals, then we must not waver .  We must choose the way of peace, the way of love, and the way of global harmony at every crossroad of human decisionmaking.”

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