Tens of thousands were expected at Saturday’s gathering at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to remember the words of Rev. Martin Luther King, which have reverberated through history since first spoken 50 years ago. The march is a precursor to the anniversary of the speech, Wednesday, Aug. 28.
Speakers at the rally included Martin Luther King III and Al Sharpton.
A thread running through Saturday’s commemoration connected the issues of King’s time to the issues of today—many expressed the continued relevance of King’s “I have a dream” speech as the nation faces employment, voting rights, and gun violence issues.
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) is the only surviving speaker from the 1963 March. He told the crowd, according to USA Today: “We cannot give up. We cannot give out. And we cannot give in.”
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the first African-American attorney general, said the civil rights focus must broaden to encompass Latinos, Asian Americans, and other potentially marginalized groups, reported USA Today.
“I know that in the 21st century we will see an America that is more perfect and more fair,” he said.
President Barack Obama is set to give a speech commemorating King’s dream on Wednesday, Aug. 28.