“I Have a Dream” Turns 50By: Lacy Langley - August 28, 2013
The nation’s first black president spoke today in honor of the man who started it all, Martin Luther King. Barak Obama lead the massive crowd and several civil rights leaders that gathered in the rain by the reflecting pool in Washington D.C. in a ceremony honoring the man who started the movement 50 years ago today.
The president spoke just a little after 3 p.m., the same time as King delivered the captivating speech that would go on the immortalize the hopes and dreams of an entire people, to crowd of over 250,000 african-american men in what was originally called The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The speech came at a pivotal moment in history that is hard to imagine. Good people were turned down for jobs, denied basic freedoms, and oppressed for the simple reason that their skin was dark. Everyday freedoms like marrying who you love, eating in a restaurant, or even using the restroom at a public facility were near unthinkable. So, does the president think we have come a long way? Does he think we have lived up the dreams that a man and his people dreamed so long ago?
In an interview with Tom Joyner on Tuesday, Obama declared that Martin Luther King, Jr. would be “amazed in many ways” at the progress that we have been able to obtain. He cited such progress as thousands of african-american elected officials, countless african-american CEOs and heads of major corporations in addition to equal rights and an accessible judicial system.
However, he was quick to point out that the astounding unemployment rate among african-americans, as well as the nations economic slump shows that we still have work to do.
Many celebrities showed up to throw in their two cents, as they feel obligated to do at any major public event. Oprah Winfrey stated that the infamous speech forced the nation to “wake up, look at itself, and eventually change”.
Jamie Fox made a surprisingly touching and on-point speech in which he recalled a meeting with Harry Belafonte,
“I said (to my daughter), ‘Listen, if you want to get inspired, come listen to this man speak.’ When I sat with Mr. Belafonte, he asked my daughter, ‘How old are you?’ and my daughter said, ’19’. And I said, ‘Mr. Belafonte, what were you doing at 19?’ and he said, “I was coming home from World War Two and when I got back to America I wasn’t allowed to vote… I realised I had more work to do, so myself, Al (Sharpton), Jesse (Jackson) and Martin (Luther King), we marched.”
And with that, shamed the nation’s entire population of college students.
Image via Twitter