Editor’s Note: Tonight on AC360° Anderson talks with poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Angelou served as King’s first Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom thousands of people once again gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial to commemorate Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. President Obama praised King for giving a “mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions” back in 1963. Five decades ago, few thought there would be an African-American president in the White House today.
“To secure the gains this country has made, requires constant vigilance, not complacency, “ said Pres. Obama.
Two former presidents also spoke at today’s event. King and his fellow civil rights crusaders “opened minds, they melted hearts and they moved millions including a 17-year-old boy watching alone in his home in Arkansas,” said former president Bill Clinton of the impact the 1963 march had on his life. While former president Jimmy Carter called on everyone to hold true to King’s message of non-violence. “The crucial question of our time is how to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence.”
Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis, the sole surviving speaker from 1963, said King’s dream is still alive. “The scars and stains of racism still remain deeply embedded in American society, whether it is 'stop-and-frisk' in New York, or injustice in the Trayvon Martin case in Florida.”
Here’s the AC360 411 on Rev. King and his “Dream” speech:
The number of people who took part in the 1963 march, mostly African-Americans, but also thousands of whites. Millions more watched on TV.
The number of law enforcement at the 1963 march, including National Guardsmen and Army reservists.
No marchers were arrested in 1963.
The chief organizer of the 1963 march, Bayard Rustin, got the job done in less than two months.
There were also the “Big Six” leaders of the civil rights movement who helped organize the march: A. Philip Randolph, Whitney M. Young Jr., James Farmer, Roy Wilkins, John Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The 1963 march took place eight years after the Montgomery bus boycott.
It was also held three years after lunch-counter sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina and Nashville. And three months after police in Birmingham, Ala., used dogs and hoses to stop protests against segregated public facilities.
How much was spent on total expenses for the 1963 march, including $18,838 for sound equipment.
The amount raised for the march 50 years ago, two-thirds from donations, the rest from ticket sales, souvenirs and other events.
How many hours the 1963 march lasted
Dr. King was the 16th speaker at the 1963 march, the last one.
How long Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” lasted
The number of typed pages for King’s speech, none which contain the words “I have a dream” since he ad-libbed that part.
The amount of money offered to George Raveling, a college basketball coach and security volunteer at the 1963 march, who has the original copy of King’s speech.
The number of days after the 1963 march when four girls were killed in the Birmingham church bombing.
The Civil Rights Act was approved and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches took place. Also, at the age of 35, King was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize.
The amount of King’s Nobel prize money, which he gave to the civil rights movement.
The number of speeches King gave between 1957 and his death in 1968
How many miles King traveled to give those speeches.
The number of times King was arrested.
The percentage of Americans who say that “a lot more” more needs to be done to achieve King’s dream, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The percentage of people saying “some more needs to be done” in the same survey.
The percentage saying little or nothing needs to be accomplished.
The number of scholars who chose King’s “I Have a Dream” as the best political speech of the 20th century.
How many streets are named after King in the U.S., mostly in the southeast, according to a professor at the University of Tennessee.
The number of years it took for King’s birthday to become a national holiday after his death in 1968. Pres. Reagan signed the bill in 1983, but it was first officially observed three years later in January 1986.
How old King would be today if he wasn’t killed in Memphis on April 4, 1968.
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