Text: H.R.431 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Text available as:

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 114-5 (03/07/2015)

 
[114th Congress Public Law 5]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 77]]

      FOOT SOLDIERS VOTING RIGHTS MARCHES CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL

[[Page 129 STAT. 78]]

Public Law 114-5
114th Congress

                                 An Act


 
      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 
note.>> 
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, 
        1965.
            (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 
        concerns.
            (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 
Code.
    (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.

                                  <all>