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H.R. 4851 (115th): Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site Act

H.R. 4851 designates the Landmark for Peace Memorial as a National Commemorative Site, and makes it part of the African American Civil Rights Network, but it would not be a unit of the National Park System. It also authorizes the National Park Service (NPS) to enter into cooperative agreements for interpretation and education at the site, and authorizes a resource study to evaluate the national significance of the site and to determine the sustainability and feasibility of designating the site as a unit of the National Park System.

On April 4, 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy was scheduled to give a campaign speech in Indianapolis during his run for the presidency. Just before giving his remarks, Sen. Kennedy was informed about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Sen. Kennedy then changed his speech to inform the crowd of Dr. King’s death, extemporaneously calling upon Americans to embrace non-violence in reaction to the news of the assassination. This historic speech was commemorated in 1994, with a Landmark for Peace Memorial at the site of the speech. The Memorial features a sculpture (the result of a national competition) of Kennedy and King reaching out toward each other from high solid walls. The groundbreaking for the Memorial was held on May 14, 1994, and attended by President Clinton, Senator Edward Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy, Dexter Scott King, and Martin Luther King III, among other dignitaries. April 4, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination and Senator Kennedy’s speech.

Last updated Apr 2, 2018. Source: Republican Policy Committee

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Apr 5, 2018.

Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site Act

(Sec. 3) This bill redesignates the Landmark for Peace Memorial in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Indianapolis, Indiana, as the "Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site." The commemorative site shall become a part of the African-American Civil Rights Network.

The Department of the Interior may enter into cooperative agreements with public or private entities for interpretive and educational purposes related to the commemorative site.