Thousands Commemorate March on Washington 2013

At 3 p.m., observers across the nation were set to ring bells commemorating the moment Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his speech on Aug. 28, 1963.

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Participants in March on Washington 2013 (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Nearly 50 years after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his call for justice from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, "tens of thousands reconvened near that spot Wednesday, under cloudy skies and amid hope and frustration about the current state of race relations in America," the Washington Post reports.

At 3 p.m., observers across the nation were set to ring bells commemorating the moment of King’s speech, and as the time drew nearer the panoply of speakers drew comparisons about how far the United States has come over five decades.

"This moment in history is a long time coming, but the change has come," said Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), speaking at the podium with President Obama, the nation’s first African American leader watching from a row of seats nearby, along with first lady Michelle Obama and former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. "We are standing here in the shadow of Abraham Lincoln 150 years after issued he emancipation proclamation and only 50 years after the historic march on Washington."

But, as other speakers did, Lewis, who marched along with King and other civil rights leader, warned that the progress should not be mistaken for full equality at a time when African Americans face higher unemployment rates.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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