said, said because congress is in rebellion and citizens are facing intense pain. maybe the 14th amendment and bill us ouof the congress will not. we're sad because of too much concentrated wealth, subsidized and born of government protection, too much poverty borne of government neglect, to many of wars, to my children killing children, too many jobs leaving and too much drugs coming. we can and malnutrition now. we can relieve sudent loan debt now. dr. king would be said that america had a moment and history of historic proportions in 2008 but they elected barack obama. yet that reduction has been met with unrelenting retribution, retaliation, then on and on printed -- unprecedented opposition. people seem to be willing to
sink the ship just to destroy the captain. we have to be bter than that. [applause] like lyndon baines johnson, poverty was restored in the great society. dr. king would not settle for shifting the chairs on the deck of the titanic. he wanted to plug the holes to stop the water from coming in. 43 years after dr. king's plan and occupation on this same sp, he would say to the occupiers on wl street,he movement has gone global and you are the offspring of dr. king. in that legacy, keep protesting. remain nonviolent. stay disciplined, stay focused. don't just before fios system, restructure it, march 4 and even
playing field, public rules, clear goals, transparency and march on to fight racial injustice and economic inequality and fight the economic and racial injustice. we all matter. dr. ki would say you must use the right to earn for the sacrifice and blood of the martyrs bridge you must use your minds and bodies as living sacrifices. you must use your vote, are passed legislation, litigation, and laws to protect the vulnerable. use your love building coalitions to remain focused on being the road of hope for those in the hall of the ship, the 99%. dr. king argued that leadership at its best was not meant to follow public opinion polls. it was meant to mold public opinion. to not do what is convenient are popular, do what is right don't be compromised to your vision.
we fall down sometimes but we get up again and again because the ground is no place for a champion. job says though you slay me, my worst fear is that i've would not get up again because i trust in god and i know my redeemer lives. victory is certain, keep hope alive. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome representative john lewis. [applause] >> good morning. it is good to see everybody here on this beautiful, beautiful day. first, i want to thank harry
johnson sr., president and ceo of the washington dc martin luther king jr. national memorial project foundation. his board of directo, da kurtz and his entire staff. i want to thank the man from alpha phi alpha and average citizens who made this dream come true. thank you for building a monument, a monument to peace, to love, and nonviolent resistance. on the front yard of america to symbolize the cornerstone of our true democracy. it was 48 long years ago when thousands of us long for freedom.
we were in the shadow of the lincoln memorial. many of us were fresh from the jails of the hard south where the front lines of the struggle for man dignity and america was. together there in peace with their hearts in our hands, open to see some sign that our cries would be heard in the cold marble walls of this distant capital. martin luther king jr., this man, this brother, this citizen of america, this citizen of the world, was nevern the program lineup. i was number 6. for those who spoke that day, i am the only ones still around. dr. king was our leader. he never, ever asked us to do
anything that he would not do. he was arrested, jailed, beaten, and constantly harassed. his home was bombed. he was stabbed. he suffered the slings and arrows of hate in a grassroots struggle to prove that love had eternal power to overcome the limitation of hate. had it not been for the philosophy of peace, the philosophy of nonviolence that he pached, and his insistence on the nonviolent resistance based on brotherly love, this would be a different nation. we would be living in a differt place today. but martin luther king jr. must be looked upon as one of the founding fathers of the new america. this man is one man. he not only for a people but he
liberated a nation. we are here, all of us, black and white, latino,sian american, and native american - we are here because this one man did what president have been unable to do. he ended with the civil war could not finish. he challenged the most powerful nation on earth to meet its moral obligation to look out for its people and look out for those who had been left out and left behind. this doctor, this creature, this man from atlanta, ga., taught us how to love. he taught us to lay down the burden of hate when he was too heavy a burden to bear. martin luther king jr., a think a few short years ago when he
came to washington 48 years ago. we had signs that said "white man, a colored man, white women,"colored, those signs are gone and will not return. [applause] the only place where children say those sizes in a book or a museum or on a video. i hear too many peop saying 48 years later that nothing has changed. , a walk in my shoes. dr. king is telling you that we have changed. we are better people. we're a better nation. just think a few short years ago when dr. king stood on the steps of the lincoln memorial, we could not register to vote in many parts of the deep south. we had to pass a so-called literacy test to count the
number of jellybeans and a jar. because of the work of martin luther king jr., and the work of hundreds of thousands of millions of people, because of the leadership of president kennedy and president lyndon johnson, we live in a different place. people ask me over and over again, was the election of barack obama fulfillment of dr. de -- dr. king's dream? it is only a down payment. we are not there yet. too many people have been left out and left behind. go's use this occasion to out and finishhe task, do what we must do to create a better world, to create a more perfect union. hang in there, don't give up, don't gi in, don't give out,
keep your faith, keep your eyes on the prize and a walk in the spirit of martin luther king jr.. thank you very much. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome ambassador andrew young. [applause] >> brothers and sisters, forgive me for starting out with a triviality. you think of martin luther king as a giant of a man but the one complex he had was a complex about his height he was really just 5 feet 7 and was always getting upset with tall people who looked down on him. now he is 30 feet tall and looking down on everybody.
[applause] he would be the first to tell you that he did i get his life for a statute. he gave his life for the least of god's children buried in the middle of the struggle when we began to work out the problems of militarism and the problems of politics and the dynamics of getting people elected, they changed the rules on him. they changed the rules and the game is no longer just political. in fact, it is the economics that controlled the politics. people of atlanta sent me to congress and i was there at the scene of the crime when they began to break up and economic order that had been started by franklin roosevelt in 1944. at the end of 73 they changed it. a little later on, they changed something lled regulation q.
this is what put you out of your house and why your mortgage is not worth what to pay for it. they changed the rules in the congress. and then the savings and loans went out of business because they left housing and started building casinos and resorts and everything else. when they went out of business, the commercial banks get into housing. they did not know anything about housing. they started packaging mortgages in something called derivatives and they sold them all around the world and they were not worth a damn. then when they went out of business, they call for the governmento bail them out. and that was not gd enough but there was a regulation call g lass-steagal. republicans change that. now the thing is all messed up.
the problem in banking and finance is we have too much tegration. [laughter] nobody really knows what they are doing and they are doing it in secret and they are not using their minds. they are using their greed behind. s. [applause] in atlanta, we tried to straighten that out a little bit. i'm not against wall street. i am just saying that we have to learn the rules and use it to our advantage. maynard jackson said at the airport. it cost us about $10 million. we have had black mayors in atlanta ever 44 years. we have tried to do things within the econo and we have been able to generate jobs. the airport cost $10 billion but it generates $30 billion every year and creates about 60,000
jobs. kasim reed is adding an international terminal that will probably add another 5000 jobs. the system works if you know how to work it. martin luther king gave his life to end poverty. you will not end poverty by preaching. you and property by learning some economics and sending your children to school,y saving your money, by getting financially literate and just like we won the battle of voting rights, we can win the battle of economic rights. that is what martin luther king would have you do now and a first step to that is to keep a present in office that basically has your interest at heart. [applause] this year, do that, god help us. [applause]
of this structure that we are dedicating. to quote martin luther king jr. in his speech at oslo when they gave him the nobel peace prize -- one of the things he made clear was that while we have come a lon way we still have a long, long way to go. while the presence of this imposing structure forever reminds us of a long and perilous journey that the struggle has brought us through, it also points toward the future. in the wds -- through many days of toil, we have already come with grace that brought us safe thus far and grace will
lead us home. we recognize here that in the midst of the amazing truth that an african-american preacher who never held public political office is recognized here among the fathers of the country. indeed, he has become a father of the country. [applause] for his leadership gave birth to a new america. this marvelous president is in peril by forces that come today to turn back the clock. there are forces in this country that wants to turn back the clock but we want to make sure they understand we have marched too far, prayed too hard, wept too bitterly, bled too profusely, and died too young to
let anybody turn back the clock on our journey home. [applause] let me make sure that i make clear that we are looking for something that i want to read you what martin said when they gave him the nobel peace prize -- we can spread the word across the whispering grass and tell the trees and the trees will tell the babbling brook and then everyone will know because they told the babbling brook. well, let me say here this is what martin said -- said"i accept this award today with an abiding faith in america and an audacious faith in the future of humankind. i refuse to accept that man's presence makes it morally incapable reaching up for the
oughtness that forever confronts them. i refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in life that surrounds every hour refused to accept the view. that man is so tragically bound to the life that it september i refuse the view that daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. i believe that even today's bombs and that burst still hope for a brighter tomorrow. i believe that wounded justice lying prostate on the blood flowing streets of our nation can be lifted from the dust of shame to rein among the children of man. i have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have mealfor their bodies, education
for their minds, and dignity and equality and freedom for their spirits. i believe -- that what selfless man had torn down god-fearing man can build a. up. i believe that one day mankind will about before the altars of god and the crown is triumphant over war and bloodshed and non- violent redemptive goodwill will proclaimed the land. we will give our tired feet new strength as we continue to stride toward the city of freedom. ." this is martins looked toward the future as he received the nobel peace prize. as we gather here in this small, we celebrate this structure in which corporate america has contributed to the well-being.
we thank god for the past and we thank god for the present but we look forward to that. we look forward to that day when justice will roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream will pour down that day when all god's children can rise, shine, and give god the glory. we look forward to that day. when blacks will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get a head man, when whites wl be more right. [laughter] [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, award wiing american poet, writer, commentator, a civil-rights activist, and educators ,nicky giovanni. the university distinguished professor at virginia tech and one of our nation's most widely read poets. [applause] >> in the spirit of martin, this is a sacred pole. poem blood has been spilled to sacramento it.
that was a magical time. height of "silver away. here i come to save the day. i want the world to see what they did to my. no, no, no, i am not going to move. if we are wrong, than the constitution of the united states is wrong. montgomery, birmingham, selma, four little girls, constant threats, constant harassment, constant fear f,clc, father knows best, leave it to be there, ed sullivan, how long? not long. th mr.oreau said to mr. emerso are you going out to? this is a eulogy. this is a water.os
this is a thank-you to die and nash. this is a flag for james farmer. this is a doubt that i make it without you to elevator. this is for the red clay o georgia that yielded black and occurs, black men of vision, black men of hope. bent over cotton and sweet potatoes or pool tables and baseball diamonds playing for a chance to live free and breezy and have enough money to take care of the folks below. this is why we can't wait. bett swirling mississippi when, the alaba time, the tennessee dust, the filing the clothes that women wash. we let the women know that we too must. overcome this is for fannie lou hamer, jo ann robinson, set to mcclure, daisy bates, all the women ba saidby, baby, baby i know you did not mean to lose your job i know you did not mean to lose
the rent money, i know you did not me to hit me. i know the lord will make a way and i am leaning on the eversting arms. how much pressure does the earth and exert on carbon to make a diamond to? how long does the soil push against the flesh, molding, molding, molding the bone -- the mons that become a cry. is unbreakable, priceless, incomparable. i made my about to the lord that i never would turn back. how much pressure does it send to the world to press against a part of a man who becomes the voice of his people? he should have had a tattoo freedom now or something like that. he said a braided his hair or carried a pool cue in a mahogany case and have that mechanism to laugh over skillet best fried chicken. this is a p sacred tooem.
open your arms, turn p youralms up, feel the spirit of greatness and be redeemed [applause] . >> nikki giovanni, you should see what is happening backstage. it is so fun. our morals are creditor a combination of public and private resources. -- our memorials are a combination of public and private resources. the chairman of the dedication and chief executive officer will be followed by tommy hilfiger, dedication co founder and cut designerr,od guillam, and
chairman of the king memorial foundation. welcome and thank you, for a mr.ckerson. [applause] >> g,wen. i am honored and humbled to be here today. at this truly momentous and historic event in front of the king family and such important guests. including my granddaughter emma. it is both a personal and professional honor for me to be here. as i look back on line life,two moments that i really remember it resonates with me -- the first is the john f. kennedy inauguration went to the embassy said ask not what your country
can do for you but rather what your -- what you can do for your country. the mlk freedom rch -- i have a dream that my four little children when they will live in a nation where they will be judged -- will not be judged by the color of skin but rather by the content of their character. qu twootes and these two speeches at a profound effect on me and my life. is also a great honor for me to represent the general motors co. and a family of general motors. i am very proud that gm had a long and has a long, strong relationship that supports this item of as a memorial. it has been two decades in the making but today, dr. king takes his place in the pantheon of american heroes.
it is a monument to one man's dream. it is a memorial to the people who sacrificed and risked everything up to and including their own lives so that generations to come with live together as equals. it does not mark an end. our historical ambion of creating a more perfect union can, by defition, never end. as dr. king showed us, the power to create a more perfect union lies in each of us. un die, we can correct injustice. we can work for equality and we can work to improve and eliminate poverty in our
country. we can do so with and all law and through the institutions that defined as a great. nation this tomorrow reminds us that not only can we make america better, it is our responsibility to make a better. on behalf of chevrolet and gmc and foundation and everyone at gm, i congratulate and salute the king family come the mlk memorial foundation and all of america for ensuring the everlasting legacy of this trip. a great man -- of this truly great man. thanks [applause] you. >> please welcome dedication co- chairman and president designer and co-founder of the tommy hilfiger corporate foundation, tommy hilfiger. >> thank you very much a [applause] it is a special honor to join the king family, the martin
luther king jr. foundation, and the many dignitaries as well as my fellow americans in celebrating the legacy of dr. king's. as i stand here today, i am reminded of what my father told me as a child, that there are two great men in this world m -- lk and jfk. at the time i understood this statement was significant but did not undersod. why as a grown man, a father, and a husband, i appreciate why and i appreciate the fact that these men were heroes because they held fast to their convictions. they chose the path cannot travel because they had a visn of a greater good. dr. king's message of equality inspired the mission for our corporate foundation when we started it over 50 years. ago little did we know that soon
thereafter, we would have the opportunity to contribute to something as powerful as this memorial. for many of us as a company working on this project for over 10 years has had a profound impact. it has been a great honor and a great privilege and a sponsibility as well to be committed and to be in it wholeheartedly. it has united us in ways that we never expectant. what many of us find most inspiring is that this memorial will serve as a beautiful reminder for generations to come of dr. king's heroism. it is a lasting tribute to a man whose message must live on. on behalf of the corpora foundation and tommy hilfiger company, thank you for the opportunity and i think mr. -- and a thank mr.guy vggers led
the company. thank you very much. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the chairman of the memorial foundation, a board of directors r,od gillam. [applause] >> good morning. this is truly a day that the lord has made. this is a day that we honor a man who dared to stretch our imagination. he showed us that we could do more, that we could become more, and that we are indeed more. he lifted up a race of people d reminded us each day that the future is ours to design, what we stand for, what we value. dr. king not only give us a vision but also showed us the way. a man, the movement, as to this nation to embrace the message of
common sense embodied in three questions -- what color is character? what race is achievement? what nationality is talent? and we needed for get a very important fourth question -- what price is neglect? he asked us to replace a climate of hate with love, justice, and peace, an elusive peace. the stars agenda as words of his assassination shook the nation. today, he watches from a very distinished chair of. honor though there are certainly dark days that must cause a regular rhythms and a part of this drum major of change, there are also bright days of joint and hope that sends the message that his work on this earth was hurt, was appreciated, and continues
to live in the hearts and deeds of millions and millions. on this momentous occasion, my friends, as we pay tribute to our beloved dr. king, on behalf of the board of directors who brought their passion, hearts and souls to ensure the establishment of this memorial in his honor, we thank you for your support in your communities, in your synagogues, in your church is coming your temples, and always of schools to the great halls of congress from contributions of 05 cents to 5 million. these thoughts and prayers, we will thank-you. without you and what we have collectively done together, we would not be able to participate in this truly one o the greatest moments in our. history god bless you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please
look and the chairman of the martin luther king jr. memorial foundation, gary calger. >> good morning. dan akerson, tommy hilfiger, and dan gillam revealed something very telling about the moral and that is that everyonenvolved in this project had their own story to tell as they looked back at the construction of this tribute to dr. king's legacy. fraternity brothers, our sons, construction worker, corporations, government officials, ,, and everyday people played to their strengths and contributed what they could. so today we celebrate how these many came together as one to see a dream fulfilled. as co-chair of the foundation's executive leadership council, i
had the distinct honor to work side-by-side with incredible men and women dedicated to building an alliance of influences, leaders, and philanthropists who drove a national campaign to construct this all inspiring memorial that will forever grace our national mall. the road we traveled while amassing this support was not always easy. for the core of our executive leadership council, it was a road we traveledor 10 years. this dedicated team made countless phone calls, arranged count -- hundreds of meetings, hosted events, and green banners throughout our nation all to remind our nation about the legacy we honor today. it was a decorative tiles to bid that required each of us to draw on what inspired us. i can say for me that
inspiration came from my years as a teenager when i witnessed dr. king courageously lead our world and our country to a much needed change. i would like to also take this opportunity to specifically thank ambassador andrew young for his extraordinary work on the council which made today, in part, possible. [applause] thank you. i would also like to thank general motors and tommy hilfiger for serving as tremendous early examples of corporate and personal support for this noble cause. thank you all very much. [applause] >> the 1955 montgomery bus boycott was a seminal moment -- moment in the civil rights movement. here to pay tribute to that historic event with an original composition entitled "bus pass
>> we talk about the hardships now for it was a mutter of the king dedication or colder at back's inauguration? >> we may have passed seven years of shoes this one weekend. ♪ to some of us a bus is lower than a subway. in 1955, that was our daily commute. the sister rosa did not have an ipod to block out the noise. >> rev. king did not tweet about monday's boycott plans. >> these crowds got there without the aid of a smart fun and there was more than an impromptu/mob trying to stop them. >> put that in your status update.
>> they will be tougher by the time we finish marching today. >> you go home and tells the legend of today, tell your friends and family how you what a country mile and stood in line and did it with style because it was your duty to be here. ♪ that remind them the montgomery bus boycott lasted 381 such days. ♪ >> while you're here, just for kicks, ride a bus. >> go ahead. sit anywhere you please. relax those feet. you know why? because you can. ♪ married mary -- ♪
special and amazing women. screen and stage star legend cicely tyson and a rising young star, at the dawn of her career, amandela denberg, welcome. [applause] >> this is the day that the lord has made in all are rejoicing and glad in it. [applause] every great dream begins with a dreamer. always remember you have within you strength, the patients, and the passion to reach for the stars in order to change this world.
that quoote is from harriet tubman, a woman who really was the early champion of civil rights. the story of civil rights movement is the story of the women who at times discreetly always dedicated, and too often with little recognition, stood up to tear down the barriers between fulfilling a dream and deferring it. this story of the women of the civil rights movement is a story of our mothers, our grandmothers, our widows and wives, our sisters and daughters who were powerful rattlers down dark lonely roads on the journey toward freedom and progress.
they were pioneers. they were made, mothers, at least, at the present volunteers, and entertainers. they were incredible women such as hriet tubman and said turner truth -- soujourner truth. women can and all colors. , from all walks of life, to stand with dr. king and other man of the civil rights movement to map out strategies of change. there were dorothy height, rose of parks, betty shabazz, caress scott king, and the countless unknown women who helped make all our lives more just and more equal. as we celebrate the dre and dedicate the memorial, let us
remember a long line of phenomenal women who shaped the civil rights movement from this country's early ds three today. let us remember to honor the women who came before us as well as so many, thank god, that are still here with us. they were powerful women, a powerful role models for myself as well as for the next generation of not only women but you men, too. i have standing with me a young 12-year-old member of the next generation. [applause] her name is amandela which in zulu mains power.
yes, indeed. so, i just have a word or twoo say to amandela, that we are passing on to you the torch. you will be the next generation to pick up and carry on where i and the rest of my generation leave off. god bles you and good luck to you. thank you. [applause] >> my knowledge of the civil rights movement is from what i have learned in school at what my parents have taught me. today, i want honor four little girls of the civil rights movement.
11-year-old denise mcnair, 14- year-old addie mae colluins, carole robinson, 14, and cynthia wesley, 14. in 1963, there were killed at 16th street baptist church in birmingham, alabama when a bomb exploded while they were in sunday school. i am 12 years old. those four little girls were my age. although they did not live long enough to be recognized as women of the civil rights movement, they should be part of that wonderful legacy because, as dr. king said at their funeral, they did not live long lives but they live a meaningful lives. i plan to live a meaningful life, too. [applause] thank you.
>> it is now my pleasure to introduce a group both women and men who, through their beliefs, have each brought change to the world -- sharing their thoughts on hope, mocracy, justice, and love -- please welcome through blazing actress and singer diane carol, lee sonders, the rev. al sharpton, and children's defense fund factor -- founder marian
we try. standing here like a fool in high-heeled shoes at 77 years of age. [applause] so, you see, i knew dr. king. and to talk about dr. martin luther king is to talk about hope. the first time i met him in the early 1960's, when i was about 12 -- [laughter] i was really struck by what a quiet man he was. always seemed quiet, but the first time i heard him speak,
suddenly, it was is it if he was bringing up fire of hope over all of us -- it was as if he was bringing a fire of hope over all of us. we all needed, desperately, a man like dr. king to turn our hopes and dreams into action. he aroused in us a total commitment to his dream, which drew 1/4 of a million of us here in 1963. in those days, i must confess that i was afraid to come to washington, because it was the south and it operated like the south. i was of little girl from new york, and not always scared the girl-- i was a littlte from new york and that always
scared the hell out of me. i can remember good reason for it feeling that way. taking the train from new york to visit my grandmother in north carolina -- and it was here in our nation's capital that the conductor would ask me and my family to move to the "colored" car. and i asked my mother why? what have i done? thing, she replied. and dr. king said, nothing was not enoh. we had to start doing something. and thanks to him, the hope he inspired, we did, and we are. i was introduced it to dr. king in brooklyn, one evening before we were to make an appearance on
a radio program. he was very young and so was i.. -- i. because i was a young mother at the time, i felt old enough to ask him why a man with a family, with the white and children, was willing -- with a wife and children, willing to live as a hunted man. even back in the 1960's, we all felt we would -- he would never lead to see his grandchildren. i will not forget, ever in my lifetime, the expression on his face when he explained that he had already put his house in order, that his wife and children chose to walk with him on this journey every step of the way. my grandmother from north carolina would be the first to remind us that even moses did
not make it to the promised land. his god-given purpose was to show us the way. i say it was the same with dr. king, who showed us the way. [applause] and all his children and all his grandchildren are here to continue his jrney together every step of the way. i remember the day that we met because it was a little talk show, in the back of a nightclub in brooklyn. i thought, "why is he here? i do not understand. this is really not a ver important talk-show." but he went almost every night wherever he could speak his word. and i will love him until the
day i die. his memory is something that continues, at this ton in in life -- this time in my life, to give me the strength and the courage to move on, to not stop. i do not want to be satisfied with the little television show that i did, and i was a star, but i was pleased to be there. now i am no longer please. we have to own the damn station. [applause] thank you. >> ladies d gentlemen, please welcome the secretary treasurer of the american federation of state, count and municipal employees, lee sonders. >> sisters and brothers, democracy grants each of us a seat at the table of politics and civic life. the force that should level the playing field, the promi that
our voices cannot be drowned out by the powerful or the wealthy or the well-connected. i am proud to represent the 1.6 million members of my union, afscme, workers to strengthen our democracy by virtue of the jobs they perform every day in every single community across this country. in 1968, dr. king took his struggle for full democracy to memphis, tennessee, on behalf of 1300 sanitation workers, afscme mmembers -- members. the workers were demanding respect, fairness, demanding to be heard. the fight in memphis became dr. king's last. he went because hunderstood the connection between workers' rights and civil rights. those striking sanitation workers were not simply fighting for better pay and safer working
conditions. they were asserting a claim on our democracy. but today's attacks on workers rights and voters rights tell us the fight for democracy is not over. victories that for decades in the making could be undone with the government -- a governor's signature, legislative vote, or, yes, our own apay. it could make it more difficult for millions of us to pass the vote. they denigrate the democratic principles on which we stand. but we cannot, we cannot be discouraged. too much remains to be done. dr. king issued a clarion call, a call for equality, a call to make democracy reality for all of god's children, because we're standingn his legac we must continue his fight for the riches of freedom and security
of justice. you know, there was a pastor in germany, an anti-nazi activist, who once sd, first they came for this socialists and i did not speak out, because i was not a socialist. then they came for the trade ionists, and i did not speak our of because i was not -- out because i was not a tde unionist. then they came for the jews and i did not speak out because i was not a jew. then tehy ca -- they came for me and there was no one left to speak. sisters and brothers, we must
always speak out. we must let our voices be heard loud and clear. we are not resting. we are not resting in the shadow of the king memorial. we are marching on! we're marching on till victory is won! together, let's restore democracy. let's restore the american dream! [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome their rev. al sharpton -- the reverend al sharpton. [applause] >> thank you. we're here today to dedicate this memorial, but let us not be confused -- this is not a monument of those times past. this is not a memorial to someone who has passed into
history and that is dead. this is a marker for the fight for justice today and a projection for the fight for justice in the future, because we will not stop until we get the equal justice dr. king fought for. dr. king was not just a historic figure. he was a conduit of the spirit of justice. justice had been denied in those times. he brought us from t back of the boss. he brought us tvoting rights. but we must continue to fight for justice today. justice is not trying to change the voting rights act and deny us in 34 states our right to vote. justice is not executing people on recanted testimony. justice is not sending children to school that are not --
schools that are not fund. justice is not 1 percent of the country controlling 40% of the wealth. just like dr. king talked about occupying washington, just as those who are occupying wall street, we're going to occupy and take those in that stand up for justice and retire those that stand in the way. [applause] we are here to say that you're going to continue marching in the spirit -- we are going to continue marching in the spirit of dr. king. we marched through the streets yesterday. we gave one message. you will not undo the king during duty will not take away the voting rights act. you will not -- you will not undo the king --
you will not take away the voting rights act. you want us to balance the budgets on what is our entitled programs. you want to mess with the social security of our seniors. that's why, when we up to vote, do not make this a partisan. when you mess with social security, this is not obama 0-- about obama, thiis about our mama! it are going to vote like we have never voted before -- we are going to vote like we have never voted. when we come to the stone of hope, let them come from all over the rld to this stone of hope. were you fight in europe, in the middle east, africa, come here to the king monument and see the stone of hope.
and when you walk through, you will see a man standing because we have hope and faith, faith that fed us when we were hungry,fai faith that clothed us when we were nekkid, faith that brought us to the white house from the eric karros. -- the outhouse. we come here a trusting in the lord alone, his holy way. he never, he never, he never failed us yet. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
>> the idea of a memorial to dr. king was conceived in 1983 where so many ideas were conceived, at the kitchen table with a group of our opportunity brothers -- fraternity brothers. many began embracing the vision led by aerodynamics national presidents that are here. i would ask that this band and be recognized that all brothers of alpha phi alpha, would you please stand for just a moment so that you could be recognized and we they could world for
their support of this great monument. -- and we thank the world. [applause] alcohol alpha grow -- alpha phi alpha join in communites fror a common goal. when secretary salazar signed the permit allowing construction of the memorial to begin in late 2009, we knew that our long-held vision would be realized. thank you to all of you who have helped us arrive here today. thank you, mr. president. thank you, secretary salazar for your signature. it is indeed my honor, my privilege, and my pleasure to introduce to you the hon. cans out lazar, secretary of the
interior. -- ken salazar. [applause] >> thank you and good morning to wallop you. on behalf of president barack obama and the united states department of the interior, i am humbled and honored to celebrate with the of the birth of dr. martin luther king, jr., memorial on the national mall as the nation's 395th national park. [applause] in our lives we have seen and understood the legacy of dr. king. as citizens of birth, we are all one people and have the duty to stand up for equality and justice for all. today, the department of the interior and the national park service had the honor as serving of a custodian of america's history. we have a duty to make sure that all of america's story is told,
not just a part. with the dedication of this memorial, we are honoring a critical chapter in the american story on the march of civil- rights and the struggle to create a more perfect union. dr. king push the struggle of civil rights for all people into the consciousness of america and the world. millions of disenfranchised americans bound new hope, dignity, and opportunity to share fully in the blessings of our nation. i stand here before you today, this distinguished audience, my president, the first president, my first -- my vice president, leaders of the civil rights movement, leaders of the king family, members of congress, and my colleagues on the cabinet. we all honor those who came before us who gave those of us in my generation the opportunity that had.
-- had been denied of the generations before them. equality for all people continues to elude us. discrimination is so present in places around our country and in the world. it is also up the root of the divisive battles about immigration here in america. this memorial stands as a testament that dr. king's stand continues today and is very much alive. we share his dream that one day we will live in a world where there is dignity, respect for all with no exceptions. when our children and grandchildren visit this place, they will share in dr. king's story, the story of america. the story that teaches us as individuals in the face of long odds, centuries of injustice, that people can summon up the justice to change the world. but in dr. king's own words,
"even though we face the difficulty of today's tomorrow, i still have a dream. it is a dream deeply rooted in the american dream and in view of my humble vision, president barack obama is a personification of that american dream. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the stage every the franklin. franklin. [applause]
>> the morning, everyone. what a pleasure it is to be here with the man be a part of this magnanimous and most historical day of remembrance for a man who was so great and so lovely. good morning. how were you. i am going to sing something that dr. king often requested. he requested it the morning that he was going to billy kyle's for dinner.
see a wonderful example of what we can accomplish. we come together today to honor and celebrate the ideals of a humble man who once said that all humanity is linked together. we come together to dedicate the martin luther king, jr., memorial. the world's memorial. many of you seated here throughout this day and country have contributed years of your time, talent, and money, to help us build a memorial to dedicate today. it has been both humbling and uplifting for me to be a part of this magnificent undertaking. our hope is that through this memorial dr. king's memorial will continue to touch those who walk with him, those inspired by
him, and future generations who will get to know him. on behalf of the martin luther king, jr., national memorial foundation, i want to thank everyone for doing so much for so long to help us arrive at st. this triumphant day in history. i thank the staff of the mlk memorial who have worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality right here on the national mall. and so, it is indeed with great pleasure and honor that i get to introduce to you the president of the united states, president barack obama. [applause] >> thank you very much. [applause]
thank you. [applause] please be seated. an earthquake and a hurricane may have delayed this day, but this is a day that would not be denied. for this day, we celebrate dr. martin luther king, jr.'s return to the national mall. in this place, he will stand for all time, among monuments to those who fathered this nation and those who defended it; a black preacher with no official rank or title who somehow gave voice to our
deepest dreams and our most lasting ideals, a man who stirred our conscience and thereby helped make our union more perfect. and dr. king would be the first to remind us that this memorial is not for him alone. the movement of which he was a part depended on an entire generation of leaders. many are here today, and for their service and their sacrifice, we owe them our everlasting gratitude. this is a monument to your collective achievement. [applause] some giants of the civil rights movement -- like rosa parks and dorothy height, benjamin hooks,
reverend fred shuttlesworth -- they've been taken from us these past few years. this monument attests to their strength and their courage, and while we miss them dearly, we know they rest in a better place. and finally, there are the multitudes of men and women whose names never appear in the history books -- those who marched and those who sang, those who sat in and those who stood firm, those who organized and those who mobilized -- all those men and women who through countless acts of quiet heroism helped bring about changes few thought were even possible. "by the thousands," said dr. king, "faceless, anonymous, relentless young people, black
and white... have taken our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the constitution and the declaration of independence." to those men and women, to those foot soldiers for justice, know that this monument is yours, as well. nearly half a century has passed since that historic march on washington, a day when thousands upon thousands gathered for jobs and for freedom. that is what our schoolchildren remember best when they think of dr. king -- his booming voice across this mall, calling on america to make freedom a reality for all of god's children, prophesizing of a day when the jangling discord of our nation would be transformed into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
it is right that we honor that march, that we lift up dr. king's "i have a dream" speech -- for without that shining moment, without dr. king's glorious words, we might not have had the courage to come as far as we have. because of that hopeful vision, because of dr. king's moral imagination, barricades began to fall and bigotry began to fade. new doors of opportunity swung open for an entire generation. yes, laws changed, but hearts and minds changed, as well. look at the faces here around you, and you see an america that is more fair and more free and more just than the one dr. king addressed that day. we are right to savor that slow
but certain progress -- progress that's expressed itself in a million ways, large and small, across this nation every single day, as people of all colors and creeds live together, and work together, and fight alongside one another, and learn together, and build together, and love one another. so it is right for us to celebrate today dr. king's dream and his vision of unity. and yet it is also important on this day to remind ourselves that such progress did not come easily, that dr. king's faith was hard-won, that it sprung out of a harsh reality and some bitter disappointments. it is right for us to celebrate dr. king's marvelous oratory,
but it is worth remembering that progress did not come from words alone. progress was hard. progress was purchased through enduring the smack of billy clubs and the blast of fire hoses. it was bought with days in jail cells and nights of bomb threats. for every victory during the height of the civil rights movement, there were setbacks and there were defeats. we forget now, but during his life, dr. king wasn't always considered a unifying figure. even after rising to prominence, even after winning the nobel peace prize, dr. king was vilified by many, denounced as a rabble rouser and an
agitator, a communist and a radical. he was even attacked by his own people, by those who felt he was going too fast or those who felt he was going too slow; by those who felt he shouldn't meddle in issues like the vietnam war or the rights of union workers. we know from his own testimony the doubts and the pain this caused him, and that the controversy that would swirl around his actions would last until the fateful day he died. i raise all this because nearly 50 years after the march on washington, our work, dr. king's work, is not yet complete. we gather here at a moment of great challenge and great change. in the first decade of this new century, we have been tested by
war and by tragedy; by an economic crisis and its aftermath that has left millions out of work, and poverty on the rise, and millions more just struggling to get by. indeed, even before this crisis struck, we had endured a decade of rising inequality and stagnant wages. in too many troubled neighborhoods across the country, the conditions of our poorest citizens appear little changed from what existed 50 years ago -- neighborhoods with underfunded schools and broken- down slums, inadequate health care, constant violence, neighborhoods in which too many young people grow up with little hope and few prospects for the future. our work is not done. and so on this day, in which we
celebrate a man and a movement that did so much for this country, let us draw strength from those earlier struggles. first and foremost, let us remember that change has never been quick. change has never been simple, or without controversy. change depends on persistence. change requires determination. it took a full decade before the moral guidance of brown v. board of education was translated into the enforcement measures of the civil rights act and the voting rights act, but those 10 long years did not lead dr. king to give up. he kept on pushing, he kept on speaking, he kept on marching until change finally came. [applause]
and then when, even after the civil rights act and the voting rights act passed, african americans still found themselves trapped in pockets of poverty across the country, dr. king didn't say those laws were a failure. he didn't say this is too hard. he didn't say, let's settle for what we got and go home. instead he said, let's take those victories and broaden our mission to achieve not just civil and political equality but also economic justice. let's fight for a living wage and better schools and jobs for all who are willing to work. in other words, when met with hardship, when confronting disappointment, dr. king refused to accept what he called the "isness" of today. he kept pushing towards the
"oughtness" of tomorrow. and so, as we think about all the work that we must do -- rebuilding an economy that can compete on a global stage, and fixing our schools so that every child -- not just some, but every child -- gets a world-class education, and making sure that our health care system is affordable and accessible to all, and that our economic system is one in which everybody gets a fair shake and everybody does their fair share, let us not be trapped by what is. [applause] we can't be discouraged by what is. we've got to keep pushing for what ought to be, the america we ought to leave to our children, mindful that the hardships we face are nothing compared to those dr. king and his fellow marchers faced 50 years ago, and that if we maintain our faith, in ourselves and in the possibilities of this nation, there is no challenge we cannot surmount. and just as we draw strength
from dr. king's struggles, so must we draw inspiration from his constant insistence on the oneness of man. the belief in his words that "we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny." it was that insistence, rooted in his christian faith, that led him to tell a group of angry young protesters, "i love you as i love my own children," even as one threw a rock that glanced off his neck. it was that insistence, that belief that god resides in each of us, from the high to the low, in the oppressor and the
oppressed, that convinced him that people and systems could change. it fortified his belief in non- violence. it permitted him to place his faith in a government that had fallen short of its ideals. it led him to see his charge not only as freeing black america from the shackles of discrimination, but also freeing many americans from their own prejudices, and freeing americans of every color from the depredations of poverty. and so at this moment, when our politics appear so sharply polarized, and faith in our institutions so greatly diminished, we need more than ever to take heed of dr. king's teachings. he calls on us to stand in the other person's shoes, to see through their eyes, to understand their pain. he tells us that we have a duty to fight against poverty, even if we are well off, to care about the child in the decrepit
school even if our own children are doing fine, to show compassion toward the immigrant family, with the knowledge that most of us are only a few generations removed from similar hardships. [applause] to say that we are bound together as one people, and must constantly strive to see ourselves in one another, is not to argue for a false unity that papers over our differences and ratifies an unjust status quo. as was true 50 years ago, as has been true throughout human history, those with power and privilege will often decry any call for change as "divisive." they'll say any challenge to the existing arrangements are unwise and destabilizing.
dr. king understood that peace without justice was no peace at all; that aligning our reality with our ideals often requires the speaking of uncomfortable truths and the creative tension of non-violent protest. but he also understood that to bring about true and lasting change, there must be the possibility of reconciliation. that any social movement has to channel this tension through the spirit of love and mutuality. if he were alive today, i believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of wall street without demonizing all who work there. that the businessman can enter tough negotiations with his company's union without vilifying the right to
collectively bargain. he would want us to know we can argue fiercely about the proper size and role of government without questioning each other's love for this country -- [applause] -- with the knowledge that in this democracy, government is no distant object but is rather an expression of our common commitments to one another. he would call on us to assume the best in each other rather than the worst, and challenge one another in ways that ultimately heal rather than wound. in the end, that's what i hope my daughters take away from this monument. i want them to come away from here with a faith in what they can accomplish when they are determined and working for a righteous cause. i want them to come away from here with a faith in other people and a faith in a benevolent god. this sculpture, massive and iconic as it is, will remind
them of dr. king's strength, but to see him only as larger than life would do a disservice to what he taught us about ourselves. he would want them to know that he had setbacks, because they will have setbacks. he would want them to know that he had doubts, because they will have doubts. he would want them to know that he was flawed, because all of us have flaws. it is precisely because dr. king was a man of flesh and blood and not a figure of stone that he inspires us so. his life, his story, tells us that change can come if you don't give up. he would not give up, no matter how long it took, because in the smallest hamlets and the darkest slums, he had witnessed the highest reaches of the human spirit. because in those moments when
the struggle seemed most hopeless, he had seen men and women and children conquer their fear. because he had seen hills and mountains made low and rough places made plain, and the crooked places made straight and god make a way out of no way. and that is why we honor this man -- because he had faith in us. and that is why he belongs on this mall -- because he saw what we might become. that is why dr. king was so quintessentially american -- because for all the hardships we've endured, for all our sometimes tragic history, ours is a story of optimism and achievement and constant striving that is unique upon this earth. and that is why the rest of the world still looks to us to lead. this is a country where ordinary people find in their hearts the courage to do
extraordinary things; the courage to stand up in the face of the fiercest resistance and despair and say this is wrong, and this is right. we will not settle for what the cynics tell us we have to accept and we will reach again and again, no matter the odds, for what we know is possible. that is the conviction we must carry now in our hearts. [applause] as tough as times may be, i know we will overcome. i know there are better days ahead. i know this because of the man towering over us. i know this because all he and his generation endured -- we are here today in a country that dedicated a monument to that legacy. and so with our eyes on the horizon and our faith squarely placed in one another, let us keep striving. let us keep struggling. let us keep climbing toward that promised land of a nation and a world that is more fair,
>> this is an exciting day, an exciting moment. a goal set, a goal met. i knew when i was in 1980 that i imagined us of being at a march to make dr. martin luther king's birthday a national holiday. i touched it in a dream and i saw it as i did here today at the monument. congratulations, america. congratulations to the world. [applause] i cannot believe it. yes, i can.
happy birthday happy birthday to you happy birthday to you happy birthday i never understood how someone had died for good could not have a day that would be set aside for his recognition because it should never be just because some cannot see the dream is clear as he that they would make it become an illusion we all know everything that he stood for time will bring thanks to martin luther king happy birthday happy birthday to you
happy birthday happy birthday ♪ we know someday there would be a holiday we know it where preace -- peace is celebrated all throughout the world ♪ the time is overdue for people like me and you you know the way to truth is love and unity to all god's children it should be a great event and the whole day would be spent in full remembrance for those
who lived and died so let us all begin you know love can win let it out don't hold it in sing it as loud as you can happy birthday to you happy birthday to you happy birthday ♪ happy birthday happy birthday dto you happy birthday to you happy birthday happy birthday, dr. martin luther king happy birthday happy birthday to you happy birthday everyone -- happy birthday happy birthday happy birthday