Rep. John Lewis Bill Creates Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park
WASHINGTON--Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) has sponsored a bill (H.R. 2880) that will change the designation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site to a national historical park, the highest level of historic protection and preservation offered by the federal government. The Prince Hall Mason Lodge, of which Martin Luther King Jr. was a member, will now be included under this protection as well as King's birth home, Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, one of the only two churches where King served as pastor, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, Dr. King's tomb, the National Park Service Visitors Center, and the Martin Luther King Jr. High School.
This highest designation will create the only national historic park in the state of Georgia and will provide federal resources for community grants, educational programming, signage and historical markers as well as park rangers who will man the sit and explain its significance.
"This is a proud moment for the state of Georgia," said Rep. John Lewis, "and for the 5th Congressional District. This was a bi-partisan, revenue-neutral bill with 77 co-sponsors. We expect it to pass today and that it will move swiftly through the Senate. What Dr. King and others accomplished in Atlanta, the heartbeat of the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century and the headquarters for non-violent action in America, changed this nation forever. I am glad that federal resources will now be used to preserve his home, his church, his masonic lodge and other places important to his leadership for generations yet unborn."
The suspension bill is on the House floor today and is expected to pass. It is also expected to move quickly toward passage in the Senate. Once it is signed by President Obama, it will become law.