Text: H.R.431 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 114-5 (03/07/2015)
[114th Congress Public Law 5]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
FOOT SOLDIERS VOTING RIGHTS MARCHES CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL
[[Page 129 STAT. 78]]
Public Law 114-5
To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Foot Soldiers who
participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to
Montgomery Voting Rights March in March of 1965, which served as a
catalyst for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. <<NOTE: Mar. 7,
2015 - [H.R. 431]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: 31 USC 5111
SECTION 1. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds the following:
(1) March 7, 2015, will mark 50 years since the brave Foot
Soldiers of the Voting Rights Movement first attempted to march
from Selma to Montgomery on ``Bloody Sunday'' in protest against
the denial of their right to vote, and were brutally assaulted
by Alabama state troopers.
(2) Beginning in 1964, members of the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee attempted to register African-Americans
to vote throughout the state of Alabama.
(3) These efforts were designed to ensure that every
American citizen would be able to exercise their constitutional
right to vote and have their voices heard.
(4) <<NOTE: Martin Luther King, Jr.>> By December of 1964,
many of these efforts remained unsuccessful. Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., working with leaders from the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference, began to organize protests throughout Alabama.
(5) On March 7, 1965, over 500 voting rights marchers known
as ``Foot Soldiers'' gathered on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in
Selma, Alabama in peaceful protest of the denial of their most
sacred and constitutionally protected right--the right to vote.
(6) <<NOTE: John Lewis. Hosea Williams.>> Led by John Lewis
of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Rev. Hosea
Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, these
Foot Soldiers began the march towards the Alabama State Capitol
in Montgomery, Alabama.
(7) As the Foot Soldiers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge,
they were confronted by a wall of Alabama state troopers who
brutally attacked and beat them.
(8) Americans across the country witnessed this tragic turn
of events as news stations broadcasted the brutality on a day
that would be later known as ``Bloody Sunday''.
(9) Two days later on Tuesday, March 9, 1965, nearly 2,500
Foot Soldiers led by Dr. Martin Luther King risked their lives
once more and attempted a second peaceful march
[[Page 129 STAT. 79]]
starting at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. This second attempted
march was later known as ``Turnaround Tuesday''.
(10) Fearing for the safety of these Foot Soldiers who
received no protection from federal or state authorities during
this second march, Dr. King led the marchers to the base of the
Edmund Pettus Bridge and stopped. Dr. King kneeled and offered a
prayer of solidarity and walked back to the church.
(11) <<NOTE: Lyndon B. Johnson.>> President Lyndon B.
Johnson, inspired by the bravery and determination of these Foot
Soldiers and the atrocities they endured, announced his plan for
a voting rights bill aimed at securing the precious right to
vote for all citizens during an address to Congress on March 15,
(12) <<NOTE: Frank M. Johnson.>> On March 17, 1965, one
week after ``Turnaround Tuesday'', U.S. District Judge Frank M.
Johnson ruled the Foot Soldiers had a First Amendment right to
petition the government through peaceful protest, and ordered
federal agents to provide full protection to the Foot Soldiers
during the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March.
(13) Judge Johnson's decision overturned Alabama Governor
George Wallace's prohibition on the protest due to public safety
(14) On March 21, 1965, under the court order, the U.S.
Army, the federalized Alabama National Guard, and countless
federal agents and marshals escorted nearly 8,000 Foot Soldiers
from the start of their heroic journey in Selma, Alabama to
their safe arrival on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol
Building on March 25, 1965.
(15) The extraordinary bravery and sacrifice these Foot
Soldiers displayed in pursuit of a peaceful march from Selma to
Montgomery brought national attention to the struggle for equal
voting rights, and served as the catalyst for Congress to pass
the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which President Johnson signed
into law on August 6, 1965.
(16) To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Voting
Rights Movement and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of
1965, it is befitting that Congress bestow the highest civilian
honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, in 2015, to the Foot
Soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday
or the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March during
March of 1965, which served as a catalyst for the Voting Rights
Act of 1965.
SEC. 2. CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL.
(a) Presentation Authorized.--The Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate shall make
appropriate arrangements for the presentation, on behalf of Congress, of
a gold medal of appropriate design to the Foot Soldiers who participated
in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to Montgomery
Voting Rights March during March of 1965, which served as a catalyst for
the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
(b) Design and Striking.--For purposes of the presentation referred
to in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury (referred to in this
Act as the ``Secretary'') shall strike a gold medal with suitable
emblems, devices, and inscriptions to be determined by the Secretary.
[[Page 129 STAT. 80]]
(c) Award of Medal.--Following the award of the gold medal described
in subsection (a), the medal shall be given to the Selma Interpretative
Center in Selma, Alabama, where it shall be available for display or
temporary loan to be displayed elsewhere, as appropriate.
SEC. 3. DUPLICATE MEDALS.
The Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold
medal struck pursuant to section 2 under such regulations as the
Secretary may prescribe, at a price sufficient to cover the cost
thereof, including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and
overhead expenses, and the cost of the gold medal.
SEC. 4. STATUS OF MEDALS.
(a) National Medals.--The medals struck pursuant to this Act are
national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States
(b) Numismatic Items.--For purposes of sections 5134 and 5136 of
title 31, United States Code, all medals struck under this Act shall be
considered to be numismatic items.
Approved March 7, 2015.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 431 (S. 527):
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 161 (2015):
Feb. 11, considered and passed House.
Mar. 2, considered and passed Senate.