ON THE 46th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is appropriate to review the progress of this Nation in securing civil rights for all our citizens. It is an impressive if not a perfect record.
Many of the social and political changes Dr. King envisaged as a civil rights leader are now taken for granted. But progress is not counted by past success; we must continually renew our commitment to the cause of justice and equality.
Dr. King was in the forefront in leading the way to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I supported the original act and its extension in 1970. This law has helped to open up our political processes to full citizen participation-and we must safeguard these gains through another 5-year extension of the statute.
I will forward to the Congress later this week draft legislation for such an extension. I believe the right to vote is the foundation of freedom and equality. It must be protected.
During his lifetime, Dr. King received the Nobel Prize and numerous other awards. But shortly before his death 7 years ago, he said that he preferred to be remembered not for these honors, but for his service to his fellow man.
Dr. King is remembered as he wished--and his memory continues to inspire hope for America. We must not let his work die--that will be the highest tribute of all.