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Published on Jun 9, 2012
For the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech, more than 100,000 people flood the Lincoln Memorial and National Mall on Saturday. This is the first of several events commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s watershed "I Have A Dream" address and the March on Washington. Co-organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network organization and King's son, Martin Luther King III, the event is intended to protest "the continuing issues that have stood in the way" of fulfilling the goals of King's iconic civil rights address, Sharpton said. "To just celebrate Dr. King's dream would give the false implication that we believe his dream has been fully achieved and we do not believe that," Sharpton told The Associated Press. "We believe we've made a lot of progress toward his dream, but we do not believe we've arrived there yet." Rhonda Hearns, 50, a physician from Prince George's County, Md., who will attend the march, said matters such as voting rights, equal pay and discrimination show that there are many unresolved issues remaining. Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1963, was more than a little nervous about the prospect of a big civil rights march coming to the city. That worry extended from the president on down -- a fear that if it went badly, it could derail the efforts to pass the nation's most important civil rights law. Civil rights organizations, organized labor, the LGBT community and women's rights groups all are expected to be richly represented in the gathering. Among the organizations participating in the march Saturday are: National Urban League, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, American Federation of Teachers, Human Rights Campaign, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Black Justice Coalition, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Service Employees International Union. Sharpton told the AP that Saturday's observances are aimed to highlight key civil rights issues dominating the national conversation, including New York's controversial "stop-and-frisk" policing tactics, which critics have characterized as racial profiling, and Florida's "Stand Your Ground" self-defense statute. Those issues along with unemployment, health care and education are what will bring Yvette Young to the march. The 52-year-old Virginia resident and vice president at the Urban League of Hampton Roads hopes her daughter, 14, will have a better life than she did. Saturday's march and rally come two months after the Supreme Court struck down a key anti-discrimination provision of 1965's landmark Voting Rights Act, triggering a wave of new voting laws and rules in several states and prompting a chorus of criticism from prominent African-American leaders. The organization is convening the event along with a range of civic, labor and business sponsors, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Sharpton and King III will be joined Saturday by the parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin and relatives of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy who was abducted, beaten and shot in the head in 1955 in Mississippi after he was accused of flirting with a white woman, organizers said in a press release. The so-called "Realize the Dream" march, which will cut a symbolic path from the Lincoln Memorial to the King Memorial, will also feature remarks from Attorney General Eric Holder, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., according to the release. The march and rally will be followed by the "Let Freedom Ring" commemoration and call to action on Wednesday — marking exactly 50 years since King drew more than 200,000 to the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his groundbreaking "I Have A Dream" speech. King's address is widely credited with spurring the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Young said the events of 1963 carried a deep meaning for her. "I always wished that I could've been a part of it," she said. "Tomorrow gives me a chance to be a part of it. It's 50 years later, but I'll be there." Speakers at the Wednesday observance will include President Barack Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, according to the event's website.
We also pay tribute to legends who have recently died, including Singer Eydie Gorme, Actress Eileen Brennan, Actress Jean Stapleton (edith bunker), Cards great Stan Musial and Andy Williams. RIP to all legends. We will never forget you.