The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

August 28, 2013

50 Years Later: Remembering Martin Luther King's dream

WASHINGTON — Taking stock of progress both made and still to come, Americans of all backgrounds and colors massed on the National Mall today to hear President Barack Obama and civil rights pioneers commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the same spot where he gave unforgettable voice to the struggle for racial equality 50 years earlier.

It was a moment rich with history and symbolism: the first black president poised to stand where King first sketched his dream.

Marchers opened the drizzly day by walking the streets of Washington behind a replica of the transit bus that Rosa Parks once rode when she refused to give up her seat to a white man. Midafternoon, the same bell was to ring that once hung in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., before the church was bombed in 1963.

Former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were part of the lineup, too, with George W. Bush sending a statement of support. Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker and Jamie Foxx led the celebrity contingent.

Setting a festive tone for the day, civil rights veteran Andrew Young, a former U.N. ambassador and congressman, veteran, sang an anthem of the civil rights movement and urged the crowd to join in as he belted out: “I woke up this morning with my mind on freedom.” He ended his remarks by urging the crowd to “fight on.”

Robby Novak, the young comedian known as Kid President, followed him to the podium and exhorted the crowd to “keep dreaming, keep dreaming.”

King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, said blacks can rightfully celebrate his father’s life and work, and the election of the first black president, but much more work remains. Even now, he said on NBC’s “Today” show, drawing on his father’s words, “many young people, it seems, are first judged by their color and then the content of their character.”

Large crowds thronged to the Lincoln Memorial, where King, with soaring, rhythmic oratory and a steely countenance, pleaded with Americans to come together to stomp out racism and create a land of opportunity for all.

Slate gray skies and a light drizzle greeted the earliest arrivals for the daylong event.

The scheduled appearance later Wednesday of Obama was certain to embody the fulfilled dreams of hundreds of thousands who rallied there in 1963. Obama has not often talked publicly about racial issues in the time he has been president. He did, however, talk at some length about the challenges he faced as a young black male as he discussed the case of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen-ager killed in a confrontation with neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

Also joining the day’s events were Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, daughter of Lyndon Johnson, the president who signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a longtime leader in civil rights battles.

Obama considers the 1963 march a “seminal event” and part of his generation’s “formative memory.” A half-century after the march, he said, is a good time to reflect on how far the country has come and how far it still has to go.

In an interview Tuesday on Tom Joyner’s radio show, Obama said he imagines that King “would be amazed in many ways about the progress that we’ve made.” He listed advances such as equal rights before the law, an accessible judicial system, thousands of African-American elected officials, African-American CEOs and the doors the civil rights movement opened for Latinos, women and gays.

“I think he would say it was a glorious thing,” Obama said.

But Obama noted that King’s speech was also about jobs and justice.

“When it comes to the economy, when it comes to inequality, when it comes to wealth, when it comes to the challenges that inner cities experience, he would say that we have not made as much progress as the civil and social progress that we’ve made, and that it’s not enough just to have a black president, it’s not enough just to have a black syndicated radio show host,” the president said.

 

1
Text Only
News
  • Amazon worker pilots drone around Space Needle

    Police say an out-of-town Amazon employee was the operator behind a drone that buzzed the Seattle Space Needle this week.

    July 25, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carjacked vehicle strikes crowd, killing 2 kids

    Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her car at gunpoint and drove it into a group of people on a corner in Philadelphia on Friday, killing two children and critically injuring three other people, police said.

    July 25, 2014

  • Man calls police chief "brain dead"

    A Liberty Township man was cited for placing a sign calling Mahoning Township’s police chief “brain dead and hell bound.”

    July 25, 2014

  • New warden returning to Lewisburg penitentiary

    David J. Ebbert has been tapped to replace Jeff Thomas as warden at United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg.

    July 25, 2014

  • Fast food workers to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

  • 1plane18.jpg Air travel a leap of faith for passengers

    Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Honduran president: U.S. has enormous responsibility for crisis

    The historic influx of illegal immigrants from Central America is caused primarily by the high demand for illicit drugs in the United States, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Today's Editorial: Child's sensibilities shield bad parents

    Periodically, a decree goes forth from the county seat announcing a special on child support, generally in the form of reducing charges and fines for all those able and willing to make good on some payments now past due.

    July 25, 2014

  • Budd fundraising run to pass Geisinger

    MILTON — It’s “kickstands up” tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. from LT’s Tavern on Route 405 in Milton where hundreds of motorcycles will take off on a run to raise funds for the Budds, the Ohio family whose matriarch, Sharon, recovers at Geisinger Medical Center from grave injuries suffered in a rock-throwing incident two weeks ago.

    July 25, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.