Guardians of King’s Dream Regroup in Washington
The New York Times
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
Published: August 28, 2013
WASHINGTON — "The dream is not dead," said Dr. Alveda King, a minister and niece of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as she walked into the Shiloh Baptist Church here Wednesday morning. "People are proving the dream is not dead. The biggest thing is love."
Fifty years to the day after her uncle roused the nation with his "I Have a Dream" speech, Dr. King’s descendants gathered for a morning interfaith service to begin a day that will culminate with a speech by the nation’s first black president in the very spot — the steps of the Lincoln Memorial — where Dr. King delivered his call to civil justice.
As the service got under way, thousands of people were flocking to the National Mall and the Lincoln Memorial in preparation for an afternoon ceremony, including President Obama’s speech. Security was extremely tight, with most streets around the National Mall closed to cars. The security and a light rain seemed to be keeping down the size of the early crowds.
But at Shiloh Baptist, a historic church founded 150 years ago by former slaves — and where Dr. King spoke in 1960 — the mood was festive as dignitaries streamed into the soaring chapel. The service was a reminder that at his core, Dr. King was a religious man whose civil rights work was rooted in his faith and a desire for what he called "the beloved community" — a world without poverty or racism or war.
"The true essence, the true nature, the true character of Martin Luther King Jr. is that he was a pastor, he was a prophet, he was a faith leader," his daughter, the Rev. Bernice A. King, the chief executive of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, told those gathered here.
"We are here today," she said, "to call upon our faith, to call upon our spirituality, to call upon our higher selves recognizing that nothing in the world will ever change if it’s not for people of faith coming together."
Wednesday’s events are part of a weeklong commemoration of the Aug. 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Justice that began Saturday with a similar civil rights march on the National Mall. Wednesday’s event is intended, organizers said, as more of a call to unity. Mr. Obama will be joined former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and the ceremony will include a bell-ringing ceremony at 3 p.m., along with concurrent bell-ringing ceremonies in cities and communities across the nation. Read more here
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