MHP   |  August 18, 2013

Living the dream 50 years later

Joy-Ann Reid, in for Melissa Harris-Perry, breaks down how far we’ve come since Martin Luther King’s Walk on Washington 50 years ago – and how his dream for equality has yet to be fully realized in American society.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> up next, living the dream 50 years later.

>>> two months after john f. kennedy requested air time on each of the three television networks to speak to the nation about civil rights , a group of activists led by labor leader randolph led a march on washington . the leaders of the 1963 march including randolph and an aide to martin luther king , jr. wanted to show support for a civil rights bill that kennedy introduced. kennedy had said in his televised address --

>> it ought to be possible for american consumers of any color to receive equal service in places of public accommodation. such as hotels and restaurants and theaters and retail stores without being forced to resort to demonstrations in the street. and it ought to be possible for american citizens of any color to register and to vote in a free election without interference or fear of reprisal.

>> and the march organizers hope to make that so. the date they chose for the rally coincided withing the eighth anniversary of the lynching of emmitt till in mississippi. the official name of the march was march on washington for freedom. it was to call out the economic inequality and social restrictions faced by black americans in the south and in the north. it was also not dr. king's march. he was one of several speakers scheduled to be on the dais that day. the speech that martin luther king , jr. planned to deliver that day was not his dream for america. it was an accuse jays. king's speech accused the country and its leaders of handing the negro a bad check. on economic advancement, access to public spaces , education and jobs. it was only when king went off script that he spoke of his dream and gave the world the lines that have come to define him in history. after the march, king, randolph and the other leaders gathered at the white house . and kennedy reportedly lined into king and smiled saying, i have a dream. three months later kennedy was did. the following july the civil rights bill that 250,000 people marched for was passed. when we commemorate the march on washington next weekend it will be that dream and those spontaneous words from dr. king that will be on the minds of most americans. it's the goals of that march was what the movement and king were going along and we're still not there. when it comes to many members of american society , black, brown, white and, indeed, today, the struggle continues.