Leaders Rally Marchers With Moving Speeches

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP president and CEO, were among leaders who spoke at Saturday's rally.

Marchers at the National Mall (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder followed him a few moments later.

“Fifty years ago, Dr. King shared his dream with the world and described visions for a society that offered and delivered the promise of equal justice under law,” he said. “He assured his fellow citizens that his goals were within reach so long as they kept faith with one another and maintained the courage and the commitment to work toward it. And he urged them to do just that by calling for no more and no less than equal justice. By standing up for the civil rights to which everyone is entitled and by speaking up in the face of hatred, violence in defiance of those who sought to turn them back with fire hoses, bullets and bombs.”

The Associated Press reports that marchers began arriving early Saturday to gather on the National Mall to stake out their spots.

The NAACP passed out signs reminiscent of the 1963 event expressing reasons for the march five decades later: “We March To Protect Voting Rights,” proclaimed one of the placards.

Organizers have planned for about 100,000 people to participate in the event, which is the precursor to the actual anniversary of the Aug. 28, 1963, march. It will be led by the Rev. Al Sharpton and King’s son Martin Luther King III. After several speeches, participants will walk the half-mile from the Lincoln Memorial to the 2-year-old memorial.

Read more at the Associated Press.