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Indy park where Sen. Kennedy gave famous MLK speech could become a national landmark

Posted: 11:40 PM, Jan 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-25 10:20:03Z

INDIANAPOLIS -- Congressman Andre Carson is leading a push to recognize the Indianapolis park where Sen. Robert Kennedy gave an impromptu speech the night Martin Luther King was assassinated as a national landmark. 

Carson has taken the first steps to preserve the Kennedy-King Park's identity by introducing HR 4851, the Kennedy-King Establishment Act, in the House of Representatives. The legislation would establish the park as a new National Historic Site within the National Park Service. 

The Indiana delegation has also sent a letter to Department of Interior Secretary Zinke asking him to designate the site as a National Historic Landmark. 

“For the residents of Indianapolis, Kennedy-King Park has long been a site where we remember how our community came together in grief and made it through one of the darkest points in our history. This site is a national treasure that is worthy of preservation so that future generations can continue to be inspired to peaceful social activism,” said Carson. 

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Sen. Kennedy was at the park at 17th Street and Broadway Street on April 4, 1968, the night King was assassinated in Tennessee. 

Although many on Kennedy's team urged him to cancel his appearance - for his own safety - he refused. Instead, he gave a historic speech that is credited with keeping the peace in the city of Indianapolis on a night when violence was erupting across the nation. 

“For years, the Landmark for Peace Memorial has stood as a tribute to our city’s unity and strength — a beacon for peace that calls our community forward," said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. "Thanks to the work of Congressman André Carson and Congresswoman Susan Brooks along with Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, in partnership with the Kennedy-King Memorial Initiative, this request for National Historic Landmark designation for the Landmark for Peace Memorial in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park ensures that this monument and its message will be protected for generations to come.”

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