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Rep. John Lewis on Expansion of MLK Historic Site to National Park

March 16, 2017
Press Release

Rep. John Lewis made this statement today on his bill H.R. 267, The Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Park Act of 2017.  The bill expands the physical area of the park to include the Prince Hall Mason Lodge, and upgrades the King historic district to a national park, the highest designation within the National Park Service, offering it the maximum support and sustenance the NPS can offer any site.  Rep. Lewis made this statement in support of the act (video link):

Mr. Speaker, I rise as the proud sponsor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Park Act. 

First, let me thank the Gentleman from Utah (Mr. Bishop), the Gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva), and all the Natural Resources Committee staff for their hard work and support of this Act.

Mr. Speaker, this non-partisan bill will simply change these historic, Atlanta places from being a “Site” to a “Park”.  At no additional cost to taxpayers, this bill will create the first national, historic park in the state of Georgia.  This small change will significantly improve the way the National Park Service preserves, shares, and presents the history of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King was our moral compass. He represented the best of America.  His mission was to create the Beloved Community -- a community at peace with itself and our neighbors.  Throughout his life, Dr. King urged each and every one of us to recognize the dignity and worth of every human being.  Passing this simple legislation will improve how this important history and legacy is shared with visitors from across the country and around the world.  

Again, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Chair and Ranking Member for their support of this legislation.  I hope that this bill will become public law as soon as possible, and I urge all of my colleagues to support this simple, common-sense legislation. 

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I yield back. 

The bill was passed by the House by a voice vote and will proceed to the Senate before it can be signed by into law.  Prospects in the Senate are favorable.  The idea has support among Georgia’s senators and among members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.