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Martin Luther King would be amazed by progress: Obama

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 23:32

Washington: Ahead of the re-enactment of Martin Luther King Jr`s historic march inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, America`s first black president Barack Obama has said that the civil rights leader would have been "amazed in many ways" about the progress in the country.

Fifty years after King made the iconic "I Have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Obama, said that the way in which the civil rights leader captured the hopes and dreams of an entire generation is unmatched.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, Obama said he imagines that King "would be amazed in many ways about the progress that we`ve made."

He listed advances such as equal rights before the law, an accessible judicial system, thousands of African-American elected officials, African-American CEOs and the doors that the civil rights movement opened for Latinos, women and gays, Fox News reported.

"When you are talking about Dr King`s speech at the March on Washington, you`re talking about one of the maybe five greatest speeches in American history," Obama said.

"And the words that he spoke at that particular moment, with so much at stake, and the way in which he captured the hopes and dreams of an entire generation I think is unmatched," he said.

King led a `March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom` on August 28, 1963, and delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Obama was set to mark the anniversary with another speech.

Obama will be joined for the "Let Freedom Ring" ceremony by a host of civil rights leaders, as well as past presidents and members of the King family.

He is expected to 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.

The ceremony will also feature musical and dance performances, and notable guests from Oprah Winfrey to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon via video.

Gandhi and his philosophy were of special interest to King.

In his 1959 Palm Sunday sermon, King preached on the significance of Gandhi`s 1928 salt march and his fast to end discrimination against India`s untouchables.


First Published: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 - 17:01
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