WASHINGTON D.C. (KPLR)- Tens of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington. Political and civil rights leaders reflected on the legacy of racial progress over the last half-century and urged Americans to press forward in pursuit of King’s dream of equality. FOX 2′s Kelley Hoskins traveled by bus with a local group to retrace the steps of this historic march.
The event, which was sponsored by the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network had many prominent speakers. They spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where 50 years ago this month King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Among those giving speeches at the event were: Martin Luther King III, Attorney General Eric Holder, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga, Rev. Al Sharpton, the families of Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.
Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who was the youngest speaker at the 1963 march. He encouraged the crowd to continue fighting for social justice. Attorney General Eric Holder kicked off the celebration, acknowledging the work of civil rights leaders from the Martin Luther King, Jr. era.“But for them, I would not be Attorney General of the United States and Barack Obama would not President of the United States of America,” Holder said.
Billie Morrison attended the march in 1963. At the 2013 march he said, ” I think at the time we made the trip; we knew it was important. I don’t think we realized the historical significance of it.”
” To go from the back of the bus to the White House is a major journey for all Americans, it’s an American victory,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Martin Luther King III helped lead the commemorative march along with other community leaders. King paid tribute to his father’s legacy, “We must embrace love and hold on to that powerful spiritual which inspired my father’s generation and inspires us still today.”
The president will deliver an address from the Lincoln Memorial Thursday at 3 p.m. The speech will be on the exact hour King gave his landmark “I Have a Dream” speech.