US to mark 50 years since Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' speech
Speech is credited with helping spur passage of sweeping civil rights laws
The first black US President will today speak to commemorate the moment civil rights leader Martin Luther King ended his landmark “I have a dream” speech 50 years ago.
Bringing to a close a seven day celebration of King's historic call for racial and economic justice, President Barack Obama will speak on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the site of King's address watched by 250,000 people on 28 August, 1963.
Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton will in turn address the audience at the ceremony, which includes bell-ringing at 3 pm EDT (1900 GMT), 50 years to the minute after King ended his clarion call of the civil rights movement with the words "let freedom ring."
The "Let Freedom Ring and Call to Action" ceremony will involve a march through downtown Washington, which is expected to draw up to 100,000 participants, followed by an interfaith service at Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, organisers said.
King, a black clergyman, non-violent activist and leader in the African-American civil rights movement was one of six organisers of the 1963 "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," where he gave his speech. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through non violent means.
King's speech is credited with helping spur passage of sweeping civil rights laws.
King was assassinated in1968 after being shot in the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on 4 April.
Approximately 50 US communities and organisations have said they will ring bells. The Swiss city of Lutry and Tokyo are also taking part, said Atlanta's King Center, another of the event organisers said.
The National Action Network of civil rights leader Al Sharpton, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the National Council of Churches are also involved in preparations.
Obama's address will wrap up more than a week of Washington events around the anniversary. They included a march on Saturday that drew thousands of people urging action on jobs, voting rights and gun violence.
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Jennifer Lawrence face palms Emma Watson at Christian Dior show in Paris
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Mick Jagger denies being World Cup curse and reason for Brazil’s embarrassing defeat
Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...
£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...