Thousands gathered in the cool morning at Washington DC's national mall hours ahead of a planned new 'March on Washington' that marks the 50 year anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Expected to draw over 100,000 people, who will march from the national mall, past the Martin Luther King monument, to the Washington Monument, the historic event will trace the path of their forebears in the civil rights and black freedom struggle who gathered in 1963 to protest poverty, joblessness, racial discrimination, and inequality—challenges that persist in the present day.
The event was organized by over 40 organizations, including Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the American Federation of Teachers. Protesters will look to issues of poverty and joblessness, immigration justice, mass incarceration, the devaluation of black and brown lives, and the repeal of the Voting Rights Act.
A live twitter feed following the day's events is available below.
President Barack Obama will give the keynote address in the same place Martin Luther King delivered his in 1963—a gesture that many have criticized as an insult to the principles King stood for, due to Obama's support for policies ranging from heavy-handed crackdown on undocumented people to expasion of the 'War on Terror' to adding black freedom activist Assata Shakur to the FBI's 'Wanted' list.
“The most appropriate question to ask on this occasion is: What would Dr. King say, if he had such a podium, today?" declared Glen Ford, Executive Editor of BlackAgendaReport.com. "Would he denounce the Obama administration as the ‘greatest perpetrator of violence in the world?’ What contemporary actors would he condemn for perpetuating the ‘giant triplets’ of militarism, racism, and materialism? And, would he even participate in an event of such symbolic importance in which the Commander-in-Chief of the United States was an honored guest?”
To follow live coverage of the day's events, see the video below.