Wednesday, August 28, 2013

50th Anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" Speech in Washington, DC

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington, D.C. You can watch the video below:

From the Detroit Free Press:
WASHINGTON - Fifty years to the day after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, thousands are returning to the spot on a rainy Wednesday to commemorate the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Wednesday's commemoration culminates a week's worth of events marking the 1963 march, which was organized by civil rights and labor groups. Wednesday's event will feature speeches by President Obama and former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

The gathering, titled "Let Freedom Ring," is organized by the 50th Anniversary Coalition for Jobs, Justice and Freedom, a group represented by the NAACP, the National Urban League, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights organizations.

Nearly five hours of speeches and performances are expected to mark the occasion, including appearances by everyone from Oprah Winfrey and Andrew Young to Caroline Kennedy, just named by Obama to be ambassador to Japan.

Among the speakers: U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the only surviving speaker from the 1963 march.

Obama is well-versed in talking about race but does so rarely. As the nation's first African-American president, he has used his own improbable story as evidence of how far the nation has come. Even before he was elected president, then-Sen. Obama in 2007 told worshipers at the historic Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma, Ala., "I'm here because somebody marched. I'm here because you all sacrificed for me. I stand on the shoulders of giants."

He referred to King and his contemporaries as "the Moses generation," but said "we've got to remember, now, that Joshua still had a job to do."

In office, he has only occasionally talked about race. Perhaps most significantly, in 2012 he commented on the Trayvon Martin shooting in Sanford, Fla., saying of the young African-American victim, "You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon. All of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves."

After a jury acquitted George Zimmerman in July of the shooting, Obama said, "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. ... When you think about why, in the African-American community at least, there's a lot of pain. It's important to recognize that the African-American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and history that doesn't go away."

[UPDATE] If you are searching for President Barack Obama's speech that commemorates the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, click here to access the video and full transcript. It was awesome and inspirational. The American people needed to hear this speech to remind themselves that the struggle for justice, equality, and freedom still continues to this day.

No comments: