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Hoosier Led Kennedy-King Establishment Act Passes Natural Resources Committee

Mar 14, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, H.R. 4851, the Kennedy-King Establishment Act, introduced by Congressman André Carson (D-IN07) and co-sponsored by Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) who both represent the City of Indianapolis, passed the Natural Resources Committee.


“Fifty years after Senator Robert Kennedy’s historic speech, it is long past time for Congress to recognize MLK Park’s historic significance,” said Carson. “I’m pleased that the Natural Resources Committee has moved this amended bill one step closer to a vote on the House Floor. I look forward to officially designating the park as a National Commemorative Site and adding it to the new U.S. Civil Rights Network. This bill is an important first step that lays the groundwork for future bipartisan efforts to support and showcase MLK Park within the National Park Service.”


“Following the shocking assassination of iconic peacemaker, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Senator Robert Kennedy delivered an historic speech in Indianapolis that instilled the importance of unity and peace during a time of turmoil, confusion and despair,” said Brooks. “Hostility and violence quickly erupted throughout communities across the United States but Indianapolis remained calm. The hallowed ground where Senator Kennedy’s remarks were delivered is known now as MLK Park and deserves national recognition for its significance in the Civil Rights Movement. I am proud this legislation is making its way through the legislative process and is one step closer to being signed into law.”



Nearly 50 years ago, on April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee. That same night, Senator Robert F. Kennedy delivered a speech to break the news to Hoosiers about what had happened.  His speech calmed a volatile crowd and called for a non-violent reaction to the assassination. It has been called one of the most important speeches of the 20th Century. Unlike other cities which erupted into violence and riots following Dr. King’s assassination, Indianapolis did not burn. 


The Kennedy-King Establishment Act is a bipartisan bill that would designate the hallowed ground where Senator Kennedy’s speech was made, now MLK Park in Indianapolis, as a National Historic Site and make it a permanent addition to the National Park Service (NSP) system. This would bring certainty about future preservation and federal resources as they become available, including inclusion in NPS materials, interpretive educational services, and possible grants to help promote the site.


Indiana Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) recently introduced companion legislation in the Senate.


For more information on today’s markup of the bill from the Natural Resources Committee, click here.