U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the civil rights movement is “work that remains unfinished,” speaking at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”
As the sun sets over Jerusalem’s Old City and a performer plays a mystical solo on a curved ram’s horn, Glenn Beck appears before an audience near the southern wall of the Temple Mount, a sacred site for both Jews and Muslims that they have battled over for centuries.
President Barack Obama, speaking from the same Washington stage where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a defining speech steering a nation’s course toward civil rights, said that for all the transformation, work remains in countering growing U.S. economic disparities.
Civil rights leader Julian Bond, who participated in the March on Washington 50 years ago, said Republican-enacted voter-identification laws are rolling back voting rights for blacks and other minorities that the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought so hard to achieve.
One wonders what Martin Luther King Jr. would have made of today’s event at the Lincoln Memorial. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom of Aug. 28, 1963, is remembered partly for his “I Have a Dream” speech. Could he have dreamed that within two generations a black American president would stand at the lectern to praise his vision? And how far would that remarkable fact atone, in his view, for the country’s lingering failure to give black Americans their full measure of economic and social equality?
Martin Luther King Jr. declared from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that the March on Washington was “not an end but a beginning.” Fifty years later, the push for racial equality still isn’t complete.