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March on Washington: What Would Martin Luther King Jr. Say Today?

Tell us, Cuyahoga Falls: 50 years after the civil rights leader's historic speech, what would his message have been in 2013?

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking — August 28, 1963. Source: The National Archives
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking — August 28, 1963. Source: The National Archives
Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

President Barack Obama will speak Wednesday, standing on those same steps to address a crowd on the civil rights successes and struggles of the past half-century. But several activists, pundits and columnists are focused on what King would say in 2013.

"Today, at age 84, King would no doubt still be on the front lines, lending his voice and his energy to major battles for justice," Peter Dreier wrote in a piece in Sunday's Washington Post. Dreier is a professor of politics and an author on social justice. He says voting rights, gun reform, immigration and more would have been among King's priorities. 

WaPo sports columnist Sally Jenkins suggested King would encourage athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics to protest over recent anti-gay laws in Russia.

"Fifty years ago, King gave his most famous speech," Jenkins wrote. "But 45 years ago this summer, he was involved in a lesser-known episode, when he urged John Carlos and Tommie Smith to take the action that became their immortal black-gloved salute at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City."

On "Face the Nation," Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said King would stress the fight for racial equality isn't over. 

According to Lewis, "If Dr. King could speak to us, he would say, 'We've come a distance. We've made a lot of progress. You're in the process of laying down the burden of race. But we're not there yet.'"

What would King say to the crowd today? Tell us in the comments!

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