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‘The journey is not complete,’ King’s son tells rally in Washington on anniversary of march |

‘The journey is not complete,’ King’s son tells rally in Washington on anniversary of march

The Associated Press
| Saturday, August 24, 2013 10:06 p.m.
Dancers from the Impact Repertory Theater perform at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial during the a rally for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
With a photo of the famous 'I Have A Dream' moment on his desk, Asa Roberts, 95, pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in New Kensington, talks about being on the podium with Martin Luther King in 1963 in Washington, D.C. during an interview on Thursday, August 8, 2013.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
Phyllis Waller and Jordan Drew hold signs from the 1963 March on Washington in Waller's Washington, PA residence on August 19, 2013. Waller's father, Louis, participated in the march in 1963.
Thelma Lovette, 97, who marched on Washington in 1963, with some of the memorabilia from that day.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Jan Neffke of Point Breeze reminices about her involvement with the March on Washington in 1963. 'It was a life-changing experience. It was really thrilling' she said. She will be going back to Washington this month for the 50th anniversary. She will be wearing this Trayvon Martin tee shirt. 'I have dedicated my life to peace, justice, and freedom for all people'.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Sala Udin at Freedom Corners in the Hill District Thursday, August 8, 2013.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Sala Udin at Freedom Corners in the Hill District Thursday, August 8, 2013. *For the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Thelma Lovette's, 97, who marched on Washington in 1963, memorabilia from that day that includes the program, buttons and her bus ticket.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Some of the many pins that Jan Neffke of Point Breeze has collected over the years Tuesday, August 6, 2013.
Gwen Titley | Tribune-Review
Phyllis Waller and Jordan Drew hold signs from the March on Washington in 1963. Phyllis' father, Louis Waller, participated in the march 50 years ago.
Lindsay Dill | Tribune-Review
The Rev. Dr. Howard Dantzler, 79, is photographed in his home Tuesday, August, 13, 2013 in Smithfield. Dantzler was present at the 1963 civil rights movement March on Washington D.C.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Dr. Nelson Harrison, who was 22 when he joined the 1963 March on Washington, plays a muted trombone with the Blue Orphans at Penn Brewery, Friday.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Sala Udin at Freedom Corners in the Hill District Thursday, August 8, 2013. *For the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Bill Strickland, a community leader, author and the president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corp., at his organization's offices August 5, 2013.

WASHINGTON — Tens of thousands of people marched to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and down the National Mall on Saturday, commemorating the 50th anniversary of King’s famous speech and pledging that his dream includes equality for gays, Latinos, the poor and the disabled.

The event was an homage to a generation of activists that endured fire hoses, police abuse and indignities to demand equality for African Americans. But there was a strong theme of unfinished business.

“This is not the time for nostalgic commemoration,” said Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of the slain civil rights leader. “Nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration. The task is not done. The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more.”

Eric Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, said he would not be in office, nor would Barack Obama be president, without those who marched.

“They marched in spite of animosity, oppression and brutality because they believed in the greatness of what this nation could become and despaired of the founding promises not kept,” Holder said.

Holder mentioned gays and Latinos, women and the disabled as those who had yet to fully realize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream. Others in the crowd advocated organized labor, voting rights, revamping immigration policies and access to local post offices.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., the only surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, railed against a recent Supreme Court decision that effectively erased a key anti-discrimination provision of the Voting Rights Act. Lewis was a leader of a 1965 march, where police beat and gassed marchers who demanded access to voting booths.

“I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Ala., for the right to vote,” he said. “I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us. You cannot stand by. You cannot sit down. You’ve got to stand up. Speak up, speak out and get in the way.”

Organizers expected about 100,000 people to participate in the event, the precursor to the actual anniversary of the Aug. 28, 1963, march that drew some 250,000 to the National Mall and ushered in the idea of massive, nonviolent demonstrations.

Marchers began arriving early Saturday, many staking out their spots as the sun rose in a clear sky over the Capitol. By midday, tens of thousands had gathered on the National Mall.

Lynda Chambers, 58, gave up a day’s pay to attend because her retail job does not provide paid vacation. Even as a 7-year-old at the time of the original march, she felt alienated and deprived of her rights. Remembering those feelings, she said, she was compelled to make the trip Saturday.

“I wanted to have some sort of connection to what I have always known, as far as being a black person,” she said.

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