LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — As thousands of people are expected to gather near the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington Wednesday, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray used the opportunity to speak on behalf of D.C. statehood.
In his iconic speech, made on August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., “encouraged Americans to let freedom ring not only from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado and the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania but also from Stone Mountain of Georgia and every hill and mole hill of Mississippi,” Gray said.
“There was one place that Dr. King didn’t mention in that speech, but about which he later spoke out forcefully, and that was the District of Columbia,” Gray went on to say. “That’s because full freedom and democracy were and are still denied to the people who quite literally live within the sight of the Capitol Dome.”
Although D.C. “is home to more residents than the states of Vermont and Wyoming,” according to Gray, it has no voting representative in Congress. The 632,000-person city also needs permission from Congress to spend its own tax dollars and enact local laws.
Gray took a page from Dr. King’s book, and recited his own version of “I Have a Dream” in the same spot where King spoke 50 years ago.
“So today, as we remember those who gave so much half a century ago to extend the blessings of liberty to all Americans, I ask, I implore, I hope, that all of you will stand with me when I say that we must let freedom ring from Mount St. Alban, where rises the majestic National Cathedral. We must let freedom ring from the bridges of Anacostia, where Frederick Douglass made his home. And most of all, we must let freedom ring from Capitol Hill itself, until all of the residents of the very seat of our great democracy are truly free.”
Listen to Gray’s full speech here:
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