Upstate Leaders Remember Roles During March on Washington -

Upstate Leaders Remember Roles During March on Washington

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Every time Pastor John Corbitt sees images from the famous 1963 March on Washington he hopes to see his face. At 21 years old, Corbitt had just graduated for South Carolina State and hopped a train to see history. Every time Pastor John Corbitt sees images from the famous 1963 March on Washington he hopes to see his face. At 21 years old, Corbitt had just graduated for South Carolina State and hopped a train to see history.

Upstate Leaders Remember Roles During March on Washington

Every time Pastor John Corbitt sees images from the famous 1963 March on Washington he hopes to see his face. At 21 years old, Corbitt had just graduated for South Carolina State and hopped a train to see history.

“It was just an amazing experience to be in that number that day,” said Dr. John Corbitt.

The way Corbitt remembers it, the speeches were long but the crowds were big. Everyone was waiting to hear from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“He gave a pretty long speech, but those last three or four minutes were the highlight of the whole day,” said Corbitt.

Greenville County Councilwoman Lottie Gibson never made it to the march, but she played a major role.

“We had worked for weeks to find places for the marchers to stay once they got to Greenville because hotels weren't open us."

Gibson says more than 200 marchers stopped in Greenville on their way from Atlanta to Washington D.C. She and others provided them with food, suits and shelter.

“We were anxious to see that they had arrived so that they could carry the message that we were tired of being segregated against and that we wanted justice,” said Gibson.

Speakers at the March on Washington highlighted everything from equal rights to education. Those who were in the midst of the march say there’s possibly more marching to do—50 years later.

“I think we've come a long way but the dream has not been fully realized at this point, I would say,” said Corbitt.

Evers-Williams urges more work on civil rights

Five decades after the historic March on Washington, Myrlie Evers-Williams sees a "retrenchment" in this country when it comes to civil rights.

The widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers told those gathered for the 50th anniversary ceremony in Washington that, "We know today that everything is not okay."

Evers-Williams said there's too much of an emphasis in today's world on individuality - and how people can reach their own personal goals.

She challenged a new generation of parents and leaders to work on community building, saying "it is your problem ... these are our children."

The country will reach that mountaintop that Martin Luther King Jr. talked about, she said, but "it will take each and every one of us."

Andrew Young says fight not over for equality

Civil rights leader Andrew Young says the struggle for black America continues 50 years after the historic March on Washington.

Young said Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech that day was really a speech about poverty. When men and women of color, Young said, presented their check at the "bank of justice," it came back marked insufficient funds.

He said: "Fifty years later, we're still here trying to cash that bad check."

Young, who served as a U.S. congressman, ambassador to the United Nations and two-time mayor of Atlanta, spoke at the 50th anniversary ceremony in Washington. He charmed the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial with civil rights-era songs and promised them in song: "I've got a feeling everything's gonna be all right."

Bernice King recalls day of MLK's speech

The Rev. Bernice King opened the celebration of her father's famous "I Have a Dream" speech Wednesday with an interfaith service in Washington.

King said that her father, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is often remembered as a freedom fighter for equal rights and human rights. But she said he was most importantly a man of faith. She says he was a prophet and "faith leader" and it was "the spirit of God that infused that movement."

Bernice King said the faith community must continue to lead every movement for justice and equality.

The opening service Wednesday included Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Sikh, and other Christian faith leaders celebrating King's legacy.

Other speakers are the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the National Cathedral; Catholic Archbishop Donald Wuerl (wurl) of Washington; Rabbi Achonfeld of the Rabbinical Assembly; Imam Mohamed Magid of the Islamic Society of North America and others.

Bush remembers King and legacy of a 'great man'

President George W. Bush is remembering Martin Luther King Jr. and his powerful words 50 years ago - words that Bush says changed the hearts of millions.Bush is not attending Wednesday's 50th anniversary ceremony in Washington. A spokesman says the invitation came as Bush was recovering from a recent heart procedure, so he declined.

But Bush and his wife, Laura, say in a statement from Dallas that King's "I Have a Dream" speech challenged the nation to live up to its founding principles that all people are created equal.

Bush said the nation has come a long way - "yet our journey to justice is not complete" and there is still a need to take King's vision to every community in America.

King bemoans 'staggering' joblessness among blacks

The eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. says blacks can rightfully celebrate his father's life and work with pride, but much more must be accomplished.

Martin Luther King III, preparing to join ceremonies Wednesday commemorating the 50th anniversary of his father's "I Have a Dream" speech, says the country should confront "staggering unemployment" among black males 18 to 30 years old.

He called Barack Obama's election as the first African-American president a major breakthrough for America. But King also told NBC's "Today" show in an interview that he believes young blacks today still "are first judged by their color and then the content of their character."

King said his father deftly used the lofty words of the Founding Fathers "to inspire, lift up and bring hope."

More than 100 sites to ring bells for MLK speech

The final refrain of Martin Luther King Jr.'s most famous speech will echo around the world as bells from churches, schools and historical monuments "let freedom ring" in celebration of a powerful moment in civil rights history.

Most of the commemorations will happen Wednesday at 3 p.m. locally or to coincide with 3 p.m. eastern time, the hour when King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in Washington 50 years ago.

Quoting from the patriotic song, "My Country 'tis of Thee," King implored his audience to "let freedom ring" from the "hilltops" and "mountains" of every state, some of which he mentioned as examples in his speech.

On Wednesday, bells will ring from each of those particular sites, and beyond.

Obama embodies King's dream and his struggle

President Barack Obama won't need to mention race when he stands at the Lincoln Memorial to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

His presence as the nation's first black president will embody one fulfilled goal of the thousands who rallied 50 years ago today and heard Martin Luther King Jr.'s soaring "I Have a Dream" speech.

Obama will be joined at Wednesday's celebrity-studded ceremony by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, as well as the daughters of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, who signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Obama says he considers the 1963 march a "seminal event" and the anniversary a good time to reflect on how far the country has come and still has to go.

Caroline Kennedy to join March on Washington rally

Caroline Kennedy is joining the lineup of speakers commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial.

Organizers say Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, will speak Wednesday, along with Lynda Johnson Robb, the daughter of President Lyndon Johnson.

Other speakers include Oprah Winfrey, Forest Whitaker, Jamie Foxx, President Barack Obama and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Performers will include singers BeBe Winans, LeAnn Rimes and the girl group Identity4Pop, among others.

The "Let Freedom Ring" commemoration is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gates will open to the public at 9 a.m.

Bell-ringing commemorations are also planned across the country at more than 100 churches and other sites in almost every state.

NAACP keeping up pressure in Trayvon Martin case

NAACP President Ben Jealous says he plans to turn over petitions with more than 1.7 million signatures calling on the Department of Justice to pursue charges against George Zimmerman for violating Trayvon Martin's civil rights.

Zimmerman was acquitted by a Florida court for the February 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Martin, who was unarmed.

Jealous says about a million of the signatures collected were sent by cell phone, and many were from young people.

Martin has emerged as a recurring symbol at protests of continued unequal treatment of blacks and other minorities.

His mother was among the speakers at Saturday's events marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Images of the slain teenager were displayed on T-shirts, posters, signs and buttons.

Civil rights and immigration history connected

The crowds marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington include immigration reform among the many issues they talk about. Advocates say they see similarities between their movement and the civil rights struggle.

The link between civil rights and America's immigration realities is more than a rhetorical device.

It is history coming full circle, as the demographic change now being seen across the United States owes some of its existence to the movement.

In 1965 the federal government radically changed its immigration policy, opening the country's doors to the world after decades of keeping them shut. Historians say that could happen, in part, because of a hunger for change and equality created by the civil rights movement.

Youth see march anniversary as chance to lead

Young people are eager to put their own stamp on events observing the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Like Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis before them, young Americans are not letting age get in the way as they push for social reform.

Saturday's march included several youth speakers - the youngest was just 9-years-old. Also on hand was the student group Dream Defenders, who protested Florida's "stand your ground" law by staging a 31-day sit-in at the governor's office.

The last surviving speaker from the 1963 march, Georgia Rep. John Lewis encouraged today's youth to use all the tools at their disposal to, as he put it, "get out there and push and pull and make America what it should be for all of us."

Holder: I wouldn't be AG without 1963 marchers

Attorney General Eric Holder says the spirit of the 1963 March on Washington now demands equal rights for gays, Latinos, women and people with disabilities.

Speaking before tens of thousands of people on the National Mall, the nation's first black attorney general praised those who faced repression and brutality to march a half century ago. He thanked them for standing up to "racist governments and governors."

Without them, he said, he'd never be the attorney general and Barack Obama would not be president.

The anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is Wednesday but anniversary events began Saturday morning. Organizers expected about 100,000 people.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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