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Associated Press
Washington – Congress marked the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death Thursday with tributes by House and Senate leaders and words of remembrance by lawmakers who once worked alongside the civil rights leader.
“Because of the leadership of this man we rose up out of fear and became willing to put our bodies on the line,” said Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a companion of King in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s.
Also speaking at ceremonies in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall were Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House and Senate Republican leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.
Reid noted that after King was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968, his body was not bestowed the honor of lying in the Capitol Rotunda. “Yet because our country dared to embrace his dream, his statue now stands there permanently, just steps from where we are.”
Other speakers were Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., the second black lawmaker in history to become a party whip; Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., head of the 43-member Congressional Black Caucus, and King’s son, Martin Luther King III.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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