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From the NIH Director: NIH 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Message

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Dear NIH Family,

This year, NIH will honor and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a tribute to the non-violent marches of the Civil Rights Movement. The theme is "Their Stories, Marching for Civil Rights."

The cornerstone of the Civil Rights Movement was an organized effort by Black American activists who dedicated themselves to the cause of equal rights. Commencing in the late 1940s and culminating in the late 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement involved different strategies and approaches, including legal action and non-violence, that resulted in laws to protect all American’s constitutional rights, regardless of race, color, national origin, or sex.

Joining in this monumental effort were several civil rights organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, the American Federation of Labor, and the Congress of Racial Equality. Each accelerated the momentum for the passage of federal civil rights legislation. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in U.S. history and it had a powerful effect on the successful implementation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

I encourage you to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday and participate in this month’s planned activities and events. Join the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) as it celebrates and honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visit the EDI website and view the social media campaign focusing on the theme: "Their Stories, Marching for Civil Rights."

You can support the Black Special Emphasis Portfolio and get involved in its efforts to improve the outreach, recruitment, retention, and the advancement of this and other diverse populations at NIH. For more information, please contact Victoria A. Gross, Black Portfolio Strategist, EDI, at or visit the EDI website.

Sincerely yours,

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

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