Summary of Obama’s 2013 50th Anniversary Speech

Here is the complete summary of Obama’s speech marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in 37 sentences.


In 1963, 200 years after the Constitution was written and 100 years after emancipation declared, that promise, those truths remained unmet.

People by the thousands from every corner of our country marched.

Dr. King’s oratory gave hope to millions.

In the face of hatred, marchers fought for freedom via discipline and persistence.

As a result, Civil Rights and Voting Rights laws were passed.

But the work of this nation is not complete.

Marchers were seeking jobs as well as justice.

For what does it profit a man, Dr. King would ask, to sit at an integrated lunch counter if he can’t afford the meal?

King’s dream is every American’s dream.

But unemployment remains twice as high for blacks and Latinos.

The gap of wealth between races has grown.

There is a shadow of poverty hanging over our youth.

The measure of progress is whether all hard-working people, regardless of race, can join the ranks of the middle-class.

This remains our great unfinished business.

Technology and global competition have not helped.

Our policies have suffered due entrenched interests that failed to give a fair deal.

We were told that greed was good and compassion ineffective.

That inequality was the price of a growing economy.

Elected officials blamed the government for economic woes.

Legitimate grievances evolved to criminal behavior.

Thus progress stalled, hope was diverted and we remained divided.

We now have a choice between the status quo or making change.

We are masters of our fate.

We need to work together and regain empathy.

Courage comes from our interracial experiences.

We need to turn towards one another and find we do not walk alone.

We can stand together for good jobs, good health care and good education.

The road will be long and we will stumble. That’s how a movement happens.

The marchers back then were young and fearless.

They dared to dream different and to imagine something better.

The urgency remains.  The flame remains.

Tireless teachers, successful businessmen, mothers, fathers, and veterans are marching.

Change does not come from Washington but to Washington.

When you take on the mantle of citizenship, you are marching.

People who love their country can change it.

When millions of Americans join together in brotherhood, we live up to the true meaning of our creed as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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