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 The U.S. Civil Rights Movement  
Martin Luther King at the Lincoln Memorial

Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on August 28, 1963.

At the end of a long, hot day, King was introduced as the “moral leader of the nation” to a crowd of more than 200,000 people who had come to Washington to demand legislation to ensure black people be given the same civil rights whites enjoyed.

King’s daughter Yolanda, speaking in November 2006, recalled her father’s voice as “velvet” yet also commanding as he called on America to make good its promises of freedom and justice for all citizens.

“I was here, with Dr. King,” Congressman John Lewis said, recalling the 1963 March on Washington, as he joined Yolanda at the groundbreaking for a King memorial in Washington. Lewis, motioning toward the Lincoln Memorial steps, where King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, said King “transformed those steps.”

King’s speech brought the crowd to life, with its simple images and repeated phrases; he said his people would not be satisfied “until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” (© AP Images)