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Ceremony At Mo. Capitol Marks 50th Anniversary of MLK's 'I Have A Dream' Speech

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

An estimated 200 people braved the heat and humidity to gather outside the Missouri Capitol and commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered during the March on Washington on August 28th, 1963.

Several speakers took turns reading portions of King's famous speech, including the Reverend James Howard Jr. of Jefferson City.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, 'we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,'" Howard said as he quoted King.

Other speakers said that progress has been made, but that there's still a long way to go.  They included former St. Louis lawmaker Jeanette Mott Oxford, who now heads the Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW).  She told the crowd she believes King's vision for America went beyond racial equality.

"I would not have chosen my career in public policy...if it were not for Dr. King," Oxford said.  "(The guiding principles for MASW), principles that I believe Dr. King would surely endorse:  basic needs -- all people in Missouri should have true access to quality health care, decent housing, adequate nutrition, and appropriate education."

The crowd also took part in a nationwide moment of silence at 2:00 p.m.  The event in Jefferson City was timed to coincide with the50thanniversary ceremony hosted by President Obama in Washington.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.