- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2013


The events on the Mall marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was rather solemn until the presidential trio and Michelle Obama took the stage.

It’s always engaging watching past and current presidents at events, including funerals.

Let’s be honest: If you were expecting fiery, engaging orations, forget about it.

That’s where I was until the Rev. Bernice King and the always-colorful Bill Clinton took the stage.

When an assassin’s shots felled her dad on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tenn., Ms. King was a little thing, and her father the “faith leader” would surely be proud of her.

A conservative Baptist minister in her own right, she opened Wednesday’s ceremonies.

The youngest of Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King’s four children stood where her father had stood 50 years ago to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech (a seated, solemn-faced Abraham Lincoln in the background).

Her delivery wasn’t smooth, like some silky talking preachers of today are.

But you could feel her passion — moved, most certainly, by that same spirit that lifted and guided her dad to lead Southern Christians, Jews and members of other faithful flocks to the Lincoln Memorial.

The crowd wasn’t as large on Wednesday as it was back in 1963 (which should have been anticipated since the school year arrives earlier these days and it was predicted that the sun would even be hesitant to show herself all day long).

As for the people who did see the ceremony, I hope they noticed with whom Ms. King shared the stage — mostly speakers from quite different walks of life than those in 1963.

Where her father shared speaking time with other men and women of the civil rights movement, Ms. King shared a stage with some people who want to continue the dream, too. Ms. King was there with a Kennedy and a Johnson, the current president and two former presidents, a chieftain of the civil rights movement who became a member of Congress and members of her own family.

What was striking was that all those officials were Democrats.

And while Caroline, the Kennedy, and Lynda, the Johnson, easily could be considered the representatives of the two men responsible for ushering through two of the most important pieces of legislation tethered directly to the movement, it was Ms. King’s characterization of her father and something Mr. Clinton did that are memorable.

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