As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we also acknowledge the significance of the "I Have A Dream" speech by Dr. Martin Luther King.
Today, 50 years later, an African-American president will stand in the spot he stood and deliver his own speech, but whether that speech will match the impact or signifigance of King's is what many are wondering.
In an interview with Tom Joyner yesterday in the Oval office, President Obama admitted the speech wasn't "quite ready."
"But let me just say for the record right now, it won’t be as good as the speech 50 years ago. I just want to get that out there early," explained Obama, who was just two-years-old when King delivered his iconic speech.
Instead, he says he simply wants to honor the legacy of King and acknowledge that we still have work to do to fully achieve his dream.
"And so all I can do on an occasion like this is just to celebrate the accomplishments of all of those folks whose shoulders we stand on and then remind people that the work is still out there for us to do, and that we honor his speech but also, more importantly in many ways, the organization of the ordinary people who came out for that speech," said Obama.
Today thoughts fall on the progress we've made since then and whether Dr. King would be satisfied with where we are today. Obama told Tom Joyner he believes King would say it was a "glorious thing" that African Americans have equal rights before the law, that African-Americans serve on juries, fill the role of CEO in fortune 100 companies and thousands of elected officials are African-American.
But Obama does acknowledge the downfalls that King would likely be disappointed by.
"And that when it comes to the economy, when it comes to inequality, when it comes to wealth, when it comes to the challenges to the challenges that inner cities experience, he would say that we have not made as much progress as the civil and social progress that we’ve made, and that it’s not enough just to have a black President, it’s not enough just to have a black syndicated radio show host. The question is, does the ordinary person, day-to-day, can they succeed," explained Obama.
And with all the attention on the "I Have A Dream" speech today, not many people know that the most famous section of the speech was ad-libbed. CBS News spoke with the man who has a copy of the original speech. George Raveling, a volunteer who had a place close to the podium, asked King if he could have the copy he read from just as he walked away from the podium and King gave it to him.
Even though Raveling is in possession of it, he says that the speech belongs to everyone, and has turned down offers up to 3.5 million dollars to sell it.