By Bob Katzen

The Senate 40-0, approved a measure, already given the nod by the House in December 2019 providing for the installation and maintenance of a plaque in the House chamber containing a portion of the address which Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered to a joint convention of the Massachusetts House and Senate in April 1965.

The plaque reads as follows: “Let me hasten to say that I come to Massachusetts not to condemn but to encourage. It was from these shores that the vision of a new nation conceived in liberty was born, and it must be from these shores that liberty must be preserved; and the hearts and lives of every citizen preserved through the maintenance of opportunity and through the constant creation of those conditions that will make justice and brotherhood reality for all of God’s children.”

“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Rep. Bud Williams (D-Springfield) a sponsor of the bill. “He stood for peace, justice and liberty. Then maybe this will be the catalyst to recognize other individuals.”

“Dr. King’s 1965 speech reminds all legislators of our heavy responsibilities to create a commonwealth where Black people receive equal and just treatment,” said Sen. Carol Lovely (D-Salem). “The placement of this plaque in the House chamber will make the Statehouse a more inclusive and inspirational place for those of us who work here as well as for those who come to see our work.”

The measure needs final approval in each branch before it goes to Gov. Baker for his signature.

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