House unanimously adopts Gainey/Roebuck resolution memorializing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. assassination

HARRISBURG, April 9 – The House today unanimously adopted a resolution introduced by Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, and Rep. James Roebuck, D-Philadelphia, memorializing the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Members of the historic Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity — to which King belonged — were present in the House chamber as H.R. 747 was adopted and were recognized for their work in carrying on Dr. King’s legacy of civil rights advocacy and community service. 

“With Dr. King’s passing, we lost one of the world’s most passionate voices for civil rights and justice through peaceful protest,” Gainey said. “Thankfully, his words live on to inspire new generations of advocates, who work every single day to realize his dream of peace and racial equality.”

“The life of Martin Luther King stands as a testimony of an individual’s ability to change a society,” Roebuck said. “His spirit continues to guide us, even 50 years after his death. We remain deeply indebted to his vision, commitment and sacrifice.”

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, on the balcony of Memphis’ Lorraine Motel, which is now the home of the National Civil Rights Museum. Sixteen years earlier, in 1952, he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha’s Sigma chapter, where he and his fraternity brothers had already begun pondering how to improve the lives of African American citizens.

The nation’s oldest African American collegiate Greek-lettered fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha is actively involved in numerous community projects, including mentoring youth, educating and registering voters, and partnering with groups such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and March of Dimes. The fraternity also raises money for AIDS research and donates thousands of dollars toward scholarships, among other charitable works. Other famous members include Thurgood Marshall, Duke Ellington, Dick Gregory and Frederick Douglass, who was initiated posthumously.

The fraternity’s 16 chapters throughout Pennsylvania make up the Pennsylvania Association of Alpha Chapters. In addition to attending the House vote, the PAAC members met with legislators about issues affecting communities throughout the state and ways the fraternity members can help address those issues.

Video of Gainey discussing the resolution before the House chamber is available here.