WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is claiming his place in Martin Luther King's 50-year-old dream, holding himself up as a symbol of the change King envisioned. But he also pointed to the nation's lingering economic disparities as evidence that King's hopes remain unfulfilled.
Obama spoke at Lincoln Memorial Wednesday on the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. With Biblical references and the cadences of a preacher, Obama used the refrain, quote, "because they marched," as he recited the achievements of the civil rights movement.
Laws changed, legislatures changed and even the White House changed, Obama said. But he says income inequality, troubled inner cities and stagnant wages amid growing corporate profits show that challenges remain.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Former President Jimmy Carter is paying tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. on this historic anniversary, even as he extols the nation to continue to work for a better America.
Carter joined members of the King family as well as President Barack Obama at a 50th anniversary ceremony on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Carter railed against a recent Supreme Court decision that effectively erased a key anti-discrimination provision of the Voting Rights Act. He bemoaned a nation awash in guns with too many black Americans in prison.
Carter said he knows how King would have reacted, adding that "there's a tremendous agenda ahead of us."
WASHINGTON (AP) - For President Bill Clinton, this day 50 years ago in the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial, marks "one of the most important days in American history."
Clinton joined President Barack Obama and the family of Martin Luther King Jr. Wednesday to celebrate King's "I Have a Dream" speech and the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.
The "march and that speech changed America," said Clinton, and "opened minds and melted hearts ... and moved millions."
Clinton said racial inequalities remain. But he said it's time to stop complaining and instead get to work - for better education opportunities for all children and implementing health care for all.
He said: "We must push open those stubborn gates" that are holding America back.