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MLK speech inspires new march

Published: Thu, August 29, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press


Standing on hallowed ground of the civil-rights movement, President Barack Obama challenged new generations Wednesday to seize the cause of racial equality and honor the “glorious patriots” who marched a half-century ago to the very steps from which the Rev. Martin Luther King spoke during the March on Washington.

In a moment rich with history and symbolism, tens of thousands of Americans of all backgrounds and colors thronged to the National Mall to join the nation’s first black president and civil-rights pioneers in marking the 50th anniversary of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Obama urged each of them to become a modern-day marcher for economic justice and racial harmony.

“The arc of the moral universe may bend toward justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own,” Obama said, in an allusion to King’s own message.

His speech was the culmination of a daylong celebration of King’s legacy that began with marchers walking the streets of Washington behind a replica of the transit bus that Rosa Parks once rode when she refused to give up her seat to a white man.

At precisely 3 p.m., members of the King family tolled a bell to echo King’s call 50 years earlier to “let freedom ring.” It was the same bell that once hung in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., where four black girls were killed when a bomb planted by a white supremacist exploded in 1963.

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a former freedom rider and the sole survivor of the main organizers of the 1963 march, recounted the civil-rights struggles of his youth and exhorted Americans to “keep the faith and keep our eyes on the prize.”

The throngs assembled in soggy weather at the Lincoln Memorial, where King, with soaring, rhythmic oratory and a steely countenance, had pleaded with Americans to come together to stomp out racism and create a land of opportunity for all.

White and black, they came this time to recall history — and live it.

“My parents did their fair share, and I feel like we have to keep the fight alive,” said Frantz Walker, a honey salesman from Baltimore who is black. “This is hands-on history.”

Kevin Keefe, a Navy lawyer who is white, said he still tears up when he hears King’s speech.

“What happened 50 years ago was huge,” he said, adding that there’s still progress to be made on economic inequality and other problems.

Two former presidents, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, spoke of King’s legacy — and of problems still to overcome.

“This march, and that speech, changed America,” Clinton declared, remembering the impact on the world and himself as a young man. “They opened minds, they melted hearts and they moved millions — including a 17-year-old boy watching alone in his home in Arkansas.”

Carter said King’s efforts had helped not just black Americans, but “in truth, he helped to free all people.”

Still, Carter listed a string of current events that he said would have spurred King to action in this day, including the proliferation of guns and stand-your-ground laws, a Supreme Court ruling striking down parts of the Voting Rights Act and high rates of joblessness among blacks.

Civil-rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, whose husband, Medgar Evers, was murdered in 1963, said that though the country “has certainly taken a turn backwards” on civil rights, she was energized to move ahead and exhorted others to step forward as well.

King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, just 5 when his father spoke at the Mall, spoke of a dream “not yet realized” in full.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but none of us should be any ways tired,” he said. “Why? Because we’ve come much too far from where we started.”

Organizers of the rally broadened the focus well beyond racial issues, bringing speakers forward to address the environment, gay rights, the challenges facing the disabled and more.


1TonyRizzo(82 comments)posted 1 year ago

Dr. King peaceably changed the culture of the the US. Yet the powers that be still shed the blood of innocent people because they did not want the oppressed people to vote or have equal civil rights because of the color of their skin.
They did not consider them as citizens with the right to vote.
Now today the GOP (Grandpa's Old Party) is back to restricting voter rights by making it harder for legal US Citizens to register and vote.
The White South is at it again in NC, Texas and other southern states attacking the Civil rights Voting Act with the Supreme Court letting states making it harder for the poor, the sick, the elderly, the Hispanics, Blacks and students to register and vote so the GOP rich white party can rig elections in their favor under the phony and false guise of voter fraud.
You are taking about hundreds of mistakes when Millions are voting.
Less than 0.0001%.
That is just a front to rig elections!
Read and learn about "ALEC" where the evangelical christian south stated that Black Folk should be taken out of the elections by a southern preacher in the 1970s.
This is a fact people.
Dr. King's efforts should not be taken for granted!
The Life Blood of a True Democracy is the equal and unimpeded right for all it's legal citizens to vote!

Let Dr. King's Dream Live in our Lives and Hearts today Peaceably.
Dr. King was Martyred for freedom by the GOP who hate everybody else who do not think or vote like them or share their philosophy.

I am an indepentdent as I see both sides failing the
"We The People" and supporting the "We The Big Money (Wall Street) Corporate America" who shipped out all the jobs.

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