WASHINGTON -- President Bush honored Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday by announcing the creation of new federal scholarships encouraging young people to study education and public policy.
Bush, who has said "education is the great civil rights issue of our time," used the King holiday to renew his emphasis on improving schools. The administration also said it will propose increasing federal funding for colleges and universities that traditionally attract black and Hispanic students by $12 million over current levels.
The president nodded along as a quartet of students from Texas Southern University recited King's "I Have a Dream" speech. King's widow, his son, Martin Luther King III, and daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, presented Bush with a portrait of the slain civil rights leader.
"I can't wait to hang it," Bush said.
Assassinated in 1968 at age 39, King would have turned 73 last Tuesday.
The King scholarships will go to "promising students all across America," Bush said in the East Room to a crowd of some 200 administration officials, foreign ambassadors and civil rights leaders.