As far as the eye could see hands were outstretched as if people were receiving the gospel at a church ceremony. But it wasn't a church where thousands of people were gathered on a sunny Sunday morning, but at the dedication ceremony of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. With speeches by the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson Sr. and performances by Aretha Franklin, gospel artists Mary Mary and others, the crowd chanted and cheered as those on stage reminded us how far America has come.
They are also making sure that supporters know that the memorial is just another step in the fight for modern-day civil rights.
“He brought us from the back of the bus, he brought us to voting rights…and we must continue to fight for justice,” Rev. Al Sharpton said of King to the thousands in the crowd.
Sharpton added that the 30-foot-tall statue in King's honor is not just a memorial to someone who has passed on in history, but it is also a marker for justice.
“While it’s important to have this memorial to remember, it’s great to have a national holiday, and it’s great to have streets and schools and hospitals named in his honor all over our nation and world, it is also important to not place too much emphasis on Martin Luther King Jr. the idol, and not enough emphasis on the ideals of Martin Luther King Jr.,” Martin Luther King III said of his father.
Love, peace, equality, jobs, education, non-violence, decent housing and an end to war were some the the ideals of his father that he wishes will be carried on.
The crowd responded in applause.
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(Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)