Congress honors King family

House Speaker John Boehner leads the ceremony.

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The Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King

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Congressional leaders present the medal to members of the King family

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Congressional Gold Medal awarded to civil rights activists

House Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leaders honored Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King with a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal.

The ceremony, held in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building, also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. The Speaker called the Act possibly "the most consequential piece of legislation" in history.

The Kings were leaders in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s. The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress's highest civilian honor.

Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed on April 4, 1968. Coretta Scott King died in 2006.

Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who’s also a prominent Civil Rights activist and knew the Kings, spoke of their work in the movement.

"Together they taught us the way of peace, the way of love, the way of nonviolence,” he said.

Members of the King family were on hand for the ceremony as was Lynda Johnson Robb, whose father, President Lyndon Johnson, signed the Civil Rights Act into law.

The medal itself will reside in the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.