Marchers Honor MLK in DC

Rally at Lincoln Memorial marks 50th anniversary of speech

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 24, 2013 12:54 PM CDT

(Newser) – Tens of thousands of marchers kicked off the 50th anniversary commemorations of the March on Washington today, honoring the civil rights progress made since Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. But they also lamented what they called new attacks on racial and social equality. Addressing the crowd, Eric Holder, the nation's first black attorney general, thanked those who marched a half-century ago and said neither he nor President Obama would be in office without them.

The Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington drew some 250,000 people to the National Mall, ushered in the idea of massive, nonviolent demonstrations, and helped bring about the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The event today was the precursor to the actual anniversary of the march. On that day, Obama will speak from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the same place King stood when he delivered his speech. Read about the Washington Post's mea culpa about its coverage 50 years ago, and about why it remains difficult to hear King's speech in full even today.

People attend the rally to commemorate the 50th anniversary of MLK's famous speech.
People attend the rally to commemorate the 50th anniversary of MLK's famous speech.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Dorothy Meekins holds up an Obama-adorned flag as she attends today's rally.
Dorothy Meekins holds up an Obama-adorned flag as she attends today's rally.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Aug. 28, 1963: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes his I Have a Dream speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
Aug. 28, 1963: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.   ((AP Photo/File))
Claudia Hanes from Kentucky holds a placard during a rally at the Lincoln Memorial.
Claudia Hanes from Kentucky holds a placard during a rally at the Lincoln Memorial.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Crowds rally at the Lincoln Memorial to mark the 50th anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech.
Crowds rally at the Lincoln Memorial to mark the 50th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Attorney General Eri Holder acknowledges applause before speaking at the rally.
Attorney General Eri Holder acknowledges applause before speaking at the rally.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Joseph Lowery, former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, looks out at the crowd.
Joseph Lowery, former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, looks out at the crowd.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks at today's rally.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks at today's rally.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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