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Wednesday, Aug. 28, marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In 1963, more than 250,000 people filled the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in the largest civil rights demonstrations in American history.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at a press conference on March 26, 1964. King was the keynote speaker at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1964, where he orated the now famous 'I Have a Dream' speach.Those who made the trek were witness to history. They heard speeches from leading Catholic, Jewish and Protestant religious leaders, labor rights activists and civil rights leaders including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Always a profound and moving speaker whose talents were honed by years behind the pulpit, King spoke about the social troubles in the segregated South, and the economic troubles affecting all Americans.

He spoke of a simple dream in what is now regarded as one of the best speeches in American history:

Managing Editor Christopher Fox Graham“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed — we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

King concluded the speech with the refrain, “Let freedom ring.”

Behind the speakers Wednesday was a bell from the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., where four little girls were killed in a racially motivated bombing just weeks after the 1963 March.

Organizers rang that bell Wednesday to prove even hate can not stop dreams for peace, freedom and equality. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer asked us to join with other Americans and ring a bells at noon Wednesday in commemoration of King and the march.

The passion and activism of the march led directly to the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

King himself was slain by an assassin’s bullet five years after he articulated his dream.

To secure the gains Americans have made toward peace and equality requires constant vigilance.

The arc of the moral universe bends towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own, it requires action.

Fifty years later, the struggle for racial, gender and economic equality isn’t over. We will stumble, but we get back up and bring others with us — that’s how history bends. That’s how King’s dream for a better America for our children lives on — because it is the dream of us all.

Christopher Fox Graham

Managing Editor


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