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Public Statements

Honoring the Life and Accomplishments of Mrs. Coretta Scott King

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life of Mrs. Coretta Scott King, a civil rights icon. Raised on a small farm in Alabama, Coretta Scott found her way to Boston where she met Martin Luther King, Jr. The two married and moved to Montgomery, Alabama, where Dr. King became the seminal figure of the civil rights movement. Mrs. King joined her husband's pursuit of civil rights by serving as an equal partner in Dr. King's tireless efforts to pursue justice, equality, and peace.

Mrs. King recalled that after her husband's tragic assassination she felt compelled to rededicate herself to the completion of his work. Indeed, Coretta Scott King became an ardent activist in the struggle against injustice, fighting to achieve Dr. King's unfulfilled dreams.

Two years ago, I joined a civil rights pilgrimage to Alabama, and it was a remarkable experience. Led by Congressman JOHN LEWIS, a number of our colleagues visited many of the sites of the civil rights struggles, including the Kings' Dexter Avenue church. We relived the experiences of those that led the movement, saw the incredible events of that time through their eyes, and it was an unforgettable experience.

Those of us who were too young to remember well the civil rights movement continue to ask ourselves what would we have done. Would we have stood up? Would we have questioned those in power? Would we have demanded equality and justice? Or would we, like so many Americans, have remained indifferent?

The best answer we can find to that question of what we would have done is answered by asking what are we doing now to advance the cause of justice and equality. In 1960s Alabama, the Kings battled overt bigotry. Today, we arm ourselves against silent intolerance.

While we look to our past and consider how far we have come, we must keep an eye towards the future, knowing that the movement is not over and that each one of us must continue to dedicate ourselves to pursuing an America with equal opportunity for all.


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