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Congress honours MLK, 50 years of Civil Rights Act

Published on Jun 25, 2014 6:11 AM
(From left) Rep Marcia Fudge, Rep John Lewis, Senate Carl Levin, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House John Boehner lock arms as they sing 'We Shall Overcome' during a ceremony to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King on Capitol Hill, on June 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Holding hands and singing We Shall Overcome, US lawmakers on Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by conferring Congress’s highest honour on the late Martin Luther King.

A 2004 resolution accorded the Congressional Gold Medal to the civil-rights icon and his wife, Coretta Scott King.

But King’s wife died in 2006 and it was their children who accepted the medal on the Kings’ behalf on Tuesday in a ceremony in the rotunda of the US Capitol.

"Through their actions, their speeches and their writings, they have created the climate for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and President Lyndon Johnson signed these two pieces of legislation into law,” said House Democrat John Lewis, himself a civil-rights icon who worked alongside King in the 1960s.

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