The National Mall in Washington, D.C. was filled with tens of thousands of people gathering to mark the 50th Anniversary of the famous and pivotal 1963 March on Washington by Martin Luther King, Jr. The commemorative celebration rally included an address by President Obama.
The rally was impressive and had a long list of speakers in attendance to address the half-century accomplishments and work still to be done in reflecting Dr. King’s legacy of racial progress and pursuit of equality. The event was sponsored by Martin Luther King III, the NAACP, and the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
People filled the National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to the World War II Memorial to hear the speakers that included Rev. Sharpton and Mr. King as well as popular rising political star, Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
Martin King III, remarked to the crowd, “Five decades ago my father stood upon this hallowed spot" and "crystallized like never before the painful pilgrimage and aching aspirations of African-Americans yearning to breathe free.”
Mr. King called his father’s “I Have a Dream” speech a call to action for all US citizens and the world.
He added, “The task is not done, the journey is not complete. The vision preached by my father a half-century ago was that his four little children would no longer live in a nation where they would be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. However, sadly, the tears of Trayvon Martin's mother and father remind us that, far too frequently, the color of one's skin remains a license to profile, to arrest and to even murder with no regard for the content of one's character.”
He then called for self-defense “stand your ground” laws to be repealed in the states where such action is lawful.
Rep. John Lewis, D-GA, was the youngest speaker 50 years ago at the original march and spoke today saying, “Fifty years later, we cannot wait, we cannot be patient. We want our jobs and we want our freedom now ... we cannot give up. We cannot give out.”
After the speeches, the rally attendees marched to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The memorial was the first to be dedicated on the National Mall to a citizen and not a former U.S. President. They then proceeded to the Washington Memorial before dispersing throughout the city.