Maggie: Yesterday, presidents, celebrities and thousands of citizens all gathered in Washington, D.C. in honor of a historic march that took place there a half century ago. Shelby Holliday has the recap.
President Obama: Because they marched, America became more free and more fair.
Shelby: Fifty years after the historic March on Washington, America paused to honor a day that sparked change for a nation.
Obama: Because they marched, city councils changed and state legislatures changed and Congress changed and, yes, eventually the White House changed.
Shelby: Thousands of people filled the National Mall to hear tributes to all of the speakers that day, especially the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was honored by the president, former presidents, and even Kid President!
Kid President, Robby Novak: Keep dreaming, keep dreaming, keep dreaming.
Shelby: Other events across the U.S. also honored the iconic civil rights leader.
Bernice King: He was a pastor. He was a prophet. He was a faith leader.
Shelby: But the anniversary was more than a commemoration, it was a call to keep fighting for Dr. King’s dream.
Representative John Lewis: We must never ever give up. We must never ever give in. We must keep the faith and keep our eyes on the prize.
Shelby: President Obama reminded the crowd that the March on Washington wasn’t just about racial equality, it was also about jobs.
Obama: The test was not, and never has been, whether the doors of opportunity are cracked a bit wider for a few. It’s whether our economic system provides a fair shot for the many.
Shelby: America has come a long way since 1963. But while we have made a lot of progress, some statistics have hardly changed. For example, the unemployment rate for blacks is still double the unemployment rate for whites. More black children live in poverty and in single-parent homes than children of other ethnicities. And the average family income for blacks remains lower than the average family income across the U.S. That is one of the reasons why, just like in 1963, Americans traveled from across the country to call for change.
Felicia Farrell: I’m hoping that we can reignite that spark that was happening.
Michelle Reed: It’s exciting, it’s overwhelming, it’s definitely a part of history.
Shelby: To top the day off, members of the King family helped ring a bell marking the hour that Dr. King delivered his famous speech.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside.
Shelby: The last line of Dr. King’s famous speech echoed around the world as bells from churches, schools and monuments rang in celebration of the iconic civil rights moment.
Shelby Holliday, Channel One News.