The occasion was truly a turning point in the long and difficult road of our race relations. It remains wondrous to observe the commitment of that generation of civil rights leaders, led by King. They abjured as pointless and ineffective the racial enmities of those such as Malcolm X (who called the march "a farce") and the violence of the Black Panther movement. King and his people sustained faith in democratic discourse, miraculous when one remembers how brutally they were treated. Eighteen days after the speech, four children died when a Birmingham, Ala., church was blown up by the Ku Klux Klan.
The 50th anniversary of the march was an occasion described by the New York Daily News as a revival. So it is, and so it should be in a regeneration of the aspirations of unity and harmony amid diversity. King and his people dared the nation to live up to its ideals.
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