25 Aug 2013

50 years since 'I have a dream' speech

9:47 am on 25 August 2013

Tens of thousands of people have rallied in Washington to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.

The 1963 speech to about 250,000 people who had marched to the Lincoln Memorial was a key moment in the civil rights campaign in the United States.

The anniversary march retraced the steps of those demonstrators, also visting a new monument, the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial.

Dr King's son, Martin Luther King III, told the rally that his father's dream of equality is still not reality.

He highlighted the case of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager who was shot dead by a neighbourhood watch volunteer as he walked home last year.

Martin Luther King III said his father dreamed of a day when people would be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character, the BBC reports.

"Sadly, the tears of Trayvon Martin's mother and father remind us that far too frequently, the colour of one's skin remains a licence to profile, to arrest and to even murder with no regard for the content of one's character," he said.

Attorney general Eric Holder told the crowd he and President Barack Obama became the first African-Americans to hold their positions thanks to the sacrifices of earlier civil rights campaigners.

People at the rally say progress has been made but more needs to be done.

They are calling for better rights relating to unemployment and want to bridge the economic disparity which still exists between black and white Americans.