News / USA

Thousands Rally to Commemorate MLK Jr.'s 'Dream'

Participants gather on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Aug. 24, 2013.
Participants gather on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Aug. 24, 2013.
Pamela Dockins
Tens of thousands of people have rallied near Washington's Lincoln Memorial, where the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his stirring "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago.  

Some people cheered and waved banners on Saturday as speakers urged them to take up causes ranging from civil and women's rights to immigration reform and ending gun violence.

A host of speakers paid tribute to the civil rights leader who was assassinated nearly five years after delivering his famous speech.

Congressman John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia, spoke at the original March on Washington in 1963.  On Saturday, he recalled the hardships that he had endured as an African American fighting for equality.

"I got arrested 40 times during the '60s, beaten and left bloody and unconscious.  But, I am not tired.  I am not weary.  I am not prepared to sit down and give up.  I am ready to fight and to continue to fight," he said.

The large, multi-racial crowd also heard from the wife of another slain civil rights leader, Medgar Evers.  Myrlie Evers-Williams questioned if the nation had made progress on racial equality.

"As I look out at the crowd," Evers-Williams said, "I find myself asking, 'What are we doing today?  Where have we come from?  What has been accomplished?  And, where do we go from this point forward?'"  

Another speaker, Congressman Steny Hoyer,  a Democrat from Maryland, suggested the United States had moved forward.

"The historic election of President [Barack] Obama testifies to the progress we have made which would not have been possible except for the millions who sacrificed and raised their voices for change," he said.

  • A tourist points to the exact location where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., gave his famous 'I Have a Dream' speech, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Aug. 22, 2013.
  • Rev. Al Sharpton (2nd R) links arms with Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) next to Martin Luther King III (R) as they begin to march during the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Aug. 24, 2013
  • Crowds rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Aug. 24, 2013.
  • Marchers gather along the reflecting pool on the National Mall during the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington Aug. 24, 2013.
  • Rev. Bobby Turner or Columbus, Ohio, places his hand on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Aug. 22, 2013, in Washington.
  • A marcher holds an U.S. flag bearing the image of President Barack Obama during the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington Aug. 24, 2013.
  • Crowds line the Reflecting Pool to watch the 50th anniversary ceremony of the 1963 March on Washington ceremony, with the Washington Monument in the backround, Aug. 24, 2013.
  • U.S. Park Police watch over the Lincoln Memorial during sunrise early in the morning before the start of the ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Aug. 24, 2013.
  • Marchers file towards their seats at the ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial honoring the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Aug. 24, 2013.
  • Marchers pose for pictures as they commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Aug. 24, 2013.
  • A marcher holds a sign as she attends the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Aug. 24, 2013.
  • The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, Aug. 22, 2013.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington, D.C. in this Aug. 28, 1963 file photo.

The King commemoration included African Americans, Asian Americans, immigrants and youth.

Nine-year-old Asean Johnson lobbied for improvements in schools.

"Every child deserves a great education.  Every school deserves equal funding and resources," said Johnson.

Janet Murguia heads the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Hispanic civil rights group.  She said Hispanics consider themselves part of King's dream.

"Millions of Latinos were watching that day in 1963.  When we heard Dr. King proclaim, 'I have a dream,' we knew he was talking to us too," said Murguia.

The son of the slain civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, III, said some of the causes his father fought for remain troubling issues today.

"Today with 12 percent unemployment rates in the African American community and 38 percent of all children of color in this country living below the level of poverty, we know that the dream is far from being realized," said King.

King said while his father's vision has not been realized fully, he is not going to be dissuaded from pushing for change.

"We ain't going to let nobody turn us around.  We are going to keep on walking.  We are going to keep on talking.  We are going to keep on voting.  We are going to keep on job building,"  he said.

King said if people do their part to advance the cause of freedom at home, in school, on the job and in organizations, then change will come.

Related story by Jerome Socolovsky:

Historic Civil Rights March Commemorated in Washingtoni
X
August 25, 2013 1:57 AM
Thousands of people marched on the National Mall in Washington on Saturday to commemorate a rally 50 years ago that became a milestone in the U.S. civil rights movement. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid