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Thousands flock to National Mall for 50th anniversary of March on Washington

By DANIELLE HAYNES, UPI.com   |   Aug. 24, 2013 at 2:04 PM   |   Comments

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Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Thousands flocked to the National Mall Saturday before the 50th anniversary of the historic Aug. 28, 1963, March on Washington featuring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech.

Speakers at Saturday's event included Attorney General Eric Holder, who credited King's speech for providing a foundation for the civil rights movement, CNN reported. He and other speakers said today's civil rights fight branches out to include people of other races and sexual orientations.

"Our focus has broadened to include the cause of women, of Latinos, of Asian-Americans, of lesbians, of gays, of people with disabilities and of countless others across this great country who still yearn for equality, opportunity and fair treatment," he said.

Jennifer Jones Austin, of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies" urged the crowd to fight for equal rights for gays and fight against poverty and gun violence.

"I am a daughter of the civil rights movement, and as a daughter I am a beneficiary of all the good that resulted from the hard work, the sweat and tears, and the blood that was shed by the leaders and doers of that movement," she said. "And as a daughter and a beneficiary, I am now the burden-bearer of this generation's civil rights movement."

Events to celebrate the anniversary continue Wednesday, the actual date of the March on Washington, and include speeches by President Barack Obama and former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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