Senator Joan B. Lovely
State Senator
2nd Essex District


July 24, 2020

Senate Passes Bill for Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in State House

Bill memorializes speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. to Massachusetts Legislature 

The Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday unanimously passed legislation to establish a memorial to Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the House Chamber of the Massachusetts Legislature. The memorial will include the text of the civil rights leader’s historic speech delivered in front of a joint convention of both houses of the Massachusetts General Court.

In his 1965 speech to the Legislature, King noted Massachusetts’ role in securing liberty for this country. King furthermore declared, that “No section of the country can boast of clean hands in the area of brotherhood,” and charged both state lawmakers and members of the public with doing more to preserve liberty and create a just society. The full text of the speech would be included on a plaque in the State House.

“The words of Dr. Martin Luther King have never been more important, especially as we embark on the hard work of dismantling systemic racism by reforming our system, shifting our resources and building a more equitable and just Commonwealth,” stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “I look forward to seeing his powerful message memorialized in the State House. I would like to thank the resolve’s sponsor, Representative Bud Williams as well as Representative Carlos González, chair of the Massachusetts Black & Latino Legislative Caucus, members of the caucus and Senator Lovely for advocating for this important remembrance.”

“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 Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem). “The placement of this plaque in the House chamber will make the State House 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 legislation now moves back to the House of Representatives for further action.