Fifty-seven years ago to the day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped up to a podium in front of 250,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech, calling for civil rights for Black Americans and an end to racism in the U.S. Other parts of that landmark day—including the powerful words of other speakers and the way the March treated the Black women who spearheaded it—aren’t always recalled with the nuance they deserve, but Dr. King’s sentiment still rings as strongly as if he gave his speech in 2020, a year that’s seen the Black Lives Matter movement shape discourse about modern civil rights.
Dr. King and Coretta Scott King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III, has recognized this ahead of 2020’s Commitment March on Washington. King III is an organizer of the 2020 March, which takes place exactly 57 years after his father took a stand to advocate for causes that further the civil rights and liberties of Black Americans. King III sought to do the same with his own speech on Friday.
“My father said, ‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’ Now is the time for all Americans to stand with Black Americans in the face of injustice to demand that America meet her promise of liberty & justice FOR ALL,” King said ahead of his speech Friday.
“Nearly 60 years ago my father fought for the original Voting Rights Act. Now it is our turn. We must demand the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Restoration Act to ensure each and every American can cast their ballot this November,” he added. “57 years ago my father marched to overcome what he called the Triple Evils of poverty, racism & violence. As we look around today, there is no denying all three evils are alive and well in America. Tomorrow we march to continue the fight against them.”
After letting Martin Luther King Jr.’s young granddaughter give a moving speech of her own, Martin Luther King III took to the podium to continue his father’s work. Watch his speech at the 2020 Commitment March on Washington, below.
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