Local Man Honored For Civil Rights Efforts

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Bismarck – A North Dakota man was honored this afternoon on the floor of the State Senate for his actions in the civil rights movement.

89-year-old Byron Knutson, a former member of the North Dakota House of Representatives, former state Insurance Commissioner and former State Labor Commissioner was one of several thousand people who took part in the Selma to Montgomery March with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1965.

After serving alongside African Americans in the Korean War, Knutson was granted a 10-day leave of absence from work on the Soo Line Railroad which allowed him to head to Alabama to march alongside Dr. King and thousands of others, fighting for their freedom.

“He marched in the official march for voters rights with Martin Luther King Junior, John Lewis, and other civil rights leaders, clergy and Laypeople, a total of over 4,000 people for eight miles until the highway narrowed from four lanes to two.” Said State Senator Erin Oban.

Knutson, who was accompanied by his wife Bernice, stood to thank the Senate while receiving a standing ovation from the floor.

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