Civil rights leaders reflected on the legacy of racial progress over the last half-century and urged Americans to press forward in pursuit of King's dream of equality.
"Five decades ago my father stood upon this hallowed spot" and "crystallized like never before the painful pilgrimage and aching aspirations of African-Americans yearning to breathe free."
"The task is not done, the journey is not complete" — Martin Luther King III
"The vision preached by my father a half-century ago was that his four little children would no longer live in a nation where they would judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." — Martin Luther King III
"They came to Washington so we could come today, in a different time and a different place, and we owe them for what we have today." — Rev. Al Sharpton
"Our vote was soaked in the blood of martyrs, and you can't take it from us" — Rev. Al Sharpton
"Today we face continuing challenges." — Rev. Al Sharpton
"I gave a little blood on that bridge in Selma, Alabama, for that right to vote" — Congressman, John Lewis
"I am not going to stand by and let the Supreme Court take the right to vote away from us." — Congressman, John Lewis
"Fix the Voting Rights Act."
"Our generation can never pay back that contribution, but it is our moral obligation to pay it forward." — Cory Booker, Mayor Newark
“We have done what we can to reveal the truth, and we now urge you as members of the media, and we call upon elected officials, and other persons of influence to do what they can to share the revelation of this case to the widest possible audience.” – Coretta Scott King, King Family Press Conference, Dec. 9, 1999
“There is abundant evidence of a major high level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. And the civil court’s unanimous verdict has validated our belief. I wholeheartedly applaud the verdict of the jury and I feel that justice has been well served in their deliberations. This verdict is not only a great victory for my family, but also a great victory for America. It is a great victory for truth itself. It is important to know that this was a SWIFT verdict, delivered after about an hour of jury deliberation.
The jury was clearly convinced by the extensive evidence that was presented during the trial that, in addition to Mr. Jowers, the conspiracy of the Mafia, local, state and federal government agencies, were deeply involved in the assassination of my husband. The jury also affirmed overwhelming evidence that identified someone else, not James Earl Ray, as the shooter, and that Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame. I want to make it clear that my family has no interest in retribution. Instead, our sole concern has been that the full truth of the assassination has been revealed and adjudicated in a court of law…
My husband once said, “The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
To-day, almost 32 years after my husband and the father of my four children was assassinated, I feel that the jury’s verdict clearly affirms this principle. With this faith, we can begin the 21st century and the new millennium with a new spirit of hope and healing.”
“We can say that because of the evidence and information obtained in Memphis we believe that this case is over. This is a period in the chapter. We constantly hear reports, which trouble me, that this verdict creates more questions than answers. That is totally false. Anyone who sat in on almost four weeks of testimony, with over seventy witnesses, credible witnesses I might add, from several judges to other very credible witnesses, would know that the truth is here.”
“The question now is, “What will you do with that?”
"We as a family have done our part. We have carried this mantle for as long as we can carry it. We know what happened. It is on public record. The transcripts will be available; we will make them available on the Web at some point. Any serious researcher who wants to know what happened can find out.”
Rosa Parks - My Hero
A Class Divided