Statement from Dr.Bernice A. King, CEO, The King Center
“Words cannot express how proud and humbled we are here at The King Center by the United States Department of Treasury’s announcement to add Martin Luther King, Jr.’s image to the backside of the new $5 note. Juxtaposing Dr. King’s image and other iconic voices of freedom on one side with President Abraham Lincoln on the other poignantly symbolizes the connection between the promise of a nation the fulfillment of that promise, and the never ending generational struggle to reach our promise.
It was no accident that my father chose to deliver his famous I Have A Dream Speech from the Lincoln Memorial. He was fully aware of the connection between his struggle for freedom during the Civil Rights Movement and Abraham’s Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Furthermore, just as Harriet Tubman emancipated slaves and President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, my father called upon President Kennedy to issue a second Emancipation Proclamation. It is a historical turning point in America and the world when the legacies of these great emancipators are memorialized on U.S. currency. Immortalizing Dr. King’s image and others who championed for freedom and democracy with that of President Lincoln, sends a strong message about the value placed on the contributions of these extraordinary individuals. This decision is a reminder that the ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand at times of challenge and controversy. I that believe that the newly designed $5 and $20 notes will be a standing reminder to our emancipated nation, to be vigilant, and steadfast to ensure freedom for all.”