Aug 28 2013
US president Barack Obama will speak in Washington 50 years after Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.
The first black US president will address the nation on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where King delivered the speech in the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.
The speech embodied the dreams of the 250,000 people who rallied there 50 years ago for racial equality. The landmark Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act making discrimination illegal were signed into law in the two years that followed.
Mr Obama has said Rev King is one of two people he admires "more than anybody in American history". The other is Abraham Lincoln. He will be joined at the memorial by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
Mr Obama will offer his personal reflections on the civil rights movement, King's speech, the progress achieved in the past 50 years and the challenges that demand attention from the next generation.
International commemorations will be held at London's Trafalgar Square, as well as in Japan, Switzerland, Nepal and Liberia.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has said King's speech resonates around the world and continues to inspire people as one of the great pieces of oratory.
As Rev King was ending his speech, he quoted from the patriotic song, My Country 'Tis Of Thee and urged his audience to "let freedom ring."
"When we allow freedom to ring - when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last, free at last, great God almighty, we are free at last," he said.
The civil rights leader was assassinated five years later.