Lewis Statement on H.R. 267, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act
WASHINGTON – Today, H.R. 267, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park Act, will become Public Law. Four years ago, Congressman Lewis first introduced legislation to create what will be Georgia’s first National Historic Park. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill on January 4, 2017, and the U.S. Senate adopted the legislation by voice vote on December 27, 2017. Rep. John Lewis (GA) made the following statement:
“Throughout his life, Dr. King urged each and every one of us to recognize the dignity and worth of every human being. He was my friend, my mentor, and my big brother, and I never expected to have the honor and privilege of representing his place of birth and the spaces where he planned a movement -- which changed the face and trajectory of our nation -- in the U.S. Congress.
“For many years, I worked with my congressional colleagues and the National Park Service to preserve these Atlanta landmarks and to enhance visitor experiences and services at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site located in Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District.
“A few years ago, the Prince Hall Masonic Temple decided to donate land in historic Sweet Auburn to the National Park Service to ensure that the story of Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which he founded, could be better shared and preserved for future generations.
“In addition, the National Park Service wanted to improve the presentation of the historic landmarks, which are integral to Dr. King’s legacy and Atlanta’s role in the American Civil Rights Movement. These changes required an Act of Congress.
“I am so proud that we were able to work in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to establish Georgia’s first National Historical Park in Dr. King’s name and legacy before what would be his 89th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his tragic assassination.
“I hope that this moment will serve as a reminder of the constant work to realize Dr. King’s dream of building the Beloved Community -- a community at peace with itself and our neighbors.”