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Civil War Sesquicentennial
Like Dr. King, we must have courage to act
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 11:00 AM
On Aug. 28, 1963, men and women, blacks and whites, Latinos and Native Americans - more than "'250,000 in all - rallied at the Lincoln Memorial in the name of racial equality.
The gathering stretched down the National Mall, past the reflecting pool toward the Capitol. The music and speeches they heard extolled the urgent need for social justice.
But 50 years later the March on Washington is mostly remembered for the Rev. Martin Luther King's eloquent speech - his dream of an America where people "will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Much has changed in 50 years. Much still needs to change.
America is closer to realizing King's dream, but not entirely. The civil rights that blacks fought for and won have been extended to women, Latinos, gays and lesbians and the disabled, among others. An African-American is in the White House. An African-American, Eric Holder, is now enforcing the nation's laws, including its civil rights laws, as attorney general.
But progress is more than checking off boxes on a to-do list. The March on Washington was a march for "jobs and freedom" and they are still at risk today, especially for blacks, Latinos and the working poor.
King moved away from his prepared speech on that August day in 1963, began speaking from the heart.
His voice rising with emotion, he delivered a message of hope with such conviction that it still inspires to this day.
Like King, we must have the hopefulness to dream and the courage to act.
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