News / archive

Historic 1963 March On Washington Remembered

Historic 1963 March On Washington Rememberedi
X
August 25, 2013 10:48 PM
Fifty years ago the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. led a march that changed the lives of all Americans. On August 28th, 1963 King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to a crowd of more than 250-thousand people in Washington. The event turned out to be a watershed moment in American history. VOA's Chris Simkins takes a look back at what was the largest demonstration for equal rights in the country's history and its impact.
Historic 1963 March On Washington Remembered
Chris Simkins
Fifty years ago, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led a march that changed the lives of all Americans. On Aug. 28, 1963, King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to a crowd of more than 250,000 people in Washington. The event turned out to be a watershed moment in American history.
 
"I don't think any of us expected a speech quite as dramatic as we heard. It just touched everyone to their heart," said Dick Miles who was among the many white people attending the march.
 
The quarter of a million people who flooded Washington that day marched for equal rights and jobs. The demonstration came at a time of great racial unrest, as the country sought to end long-entrenched laws that discriminated against African-Americans.
 
Rev. Jesse Jackson said Martin Luther King had a clear vision of the symbolism of the march. 
 
“The dream was to lift our spirits, and that was very successful,” Jackson said. “Moving us toward getting freedom."
 
While those who attended the gathering say the atmosphere was festive, many historians agree the march was also a powerful statement that racial discrimination had to end.
 
"For the first time in our history we could all come together and speak with one voice and to me that is the most powerful thing that ever happened," said Rev. Willie Blue.
 
King use the gathering to deliver what would become his most famous speech, casting  a spotlight on African-Americans' struggle to eliminate racial segregation and discrimination.
 
The most stirring moments of the speech came when King spoke about his personal aspirations for the nation.
 
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."
 
"He transformed those marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial into a modern day pulpit, and I remember him saying I would dream today a dream deeply rooted in the American dream," said Congressman John Lewis, who also spoke at the march.
 
Lewis remembers that, as people departed from the march, civil rights leaders met at the White House with President John Kennedy.
 
"That afternoon President Kennedy invited us back down to the White House,” he said. “It was like a proud beaming father -- he said to each one of us, 'you did a good job, you did a good job', and, when he got to Dr. King, he said 'and you had a dream."

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs