Bill Clinton on Martin Luther King's Ability to Move Millions

The former president talks about MLK's "dream" to heal the racial divide in America.
9:14 | 08/28/13

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Transcript for Bill Clinton on Martin Luther King's Ability to Move Millions
Please welcome the 42 president of the United States. -- -- Thank you. The president -- Obama President Carter Vice President Biden. -- I want to thank my. Great friend reverend Bernice king and the King Family for. Inviting me to be a part of this fiftieth observation. Of one of the most important days in American history. -- Doctor king and -- Philip Randolph John Lewis and -- -- and north behind early Evers these debates. And all the others who led this massive march. Knew what they were doing on this hallowed ground. In the shadow of Lincoln statue. The burning memory. The fact that he gave his life to preserve the union and in slavery. More -- -- king. Urged his crowd not to drink from the cup of bitterness. But to reach across the racial divide it. Because he said. We cannot walk alone. Their destiny is tied up with our -- -- their freedom is inextricably. Bound. To our. -- He -- the victims of racial violence. To meet white Americans with a outstretched hand. Not a clenched fist. And in so doing to approve the redeeming power. Of -- Suffering. And then. He dreams. Of an America where all citizens would sit together at the table of brotherhood. We're a little black boys and girls a little black boys and girls would hold hands across the color line. We're his own children will be judged. Not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. In this march. And that speech. Changed America. Day open minds they melted hearts. And they moved billions. Including a seventeen year old boy watching alone in his home. In Arkansas. It was an empowering. Moment. But also and empower them. As the great chronicler of those years tiger ranch road. The movement here. Getting divorced so open. Quote the stubborn gates that freed. And outflow of the Civil Rights Act the voting rights act immigration reform Medicare Medicaid. Open house. It is well to remember that the leaders and the foot soldiers here. We're both idealists and tough realized they had to be. It was a violent time just three months later. We lost president Kennedy. And we thank god that president Johnson came -- and well. For all those. The issues I just mentioned. Just five years later. We lost Senator Kennedy. And in between there was the carnage. Of the fight. For jobs freedom and equality. Just eighteen days after this march. Four little children were killed in the Birmingham church bombing. Then there -- the Ku Klux Klan -- The Mississippi -- lynching. And a dozen others. Until in 1968 it Doctor King himself was -- Still marching. For jobs and freedom. What are that we -- those people who came here fifty years ago. The martyrs played -- all for a dream. A dream as John Lewis said that millions have now. Actually. Lived. So how would go to repay the debt. Doctor king's dream of the inner dependence. His prescription of wholehearted cooperation across racial. They ring as true today as they did fifty years ago. Oh yes we face terrible political gridlock now. -- little history. -- -- -- Yes there remain racial inequalities in employment income health wealth. Incarceration. And in the victims and perpetrators. A violent crime. But we don't face beatings lynchings in shootings for our political beliefs anymore. And I would respectfully suggest that Martin Luther King did not live and god. Here here is -- -- about political gridlock. It is time to stop complaining. And put our shoulders against the stubborn. Okay. Holding the American people by. We cannot it is hard. By the forces of resistance to building a modern economy of good jobs and rising incomes. Smarter rebuilding our education system. Together. All -- our children a common core of knowledge necessary. To ensure success. -- give Americans of all ages access. To affordable college in training program. And we thank the president for his efforts and those regard. We cannot relax our efforts to implement Health Care Reform in a way -- end discrimination against those with. Pre existing condition. One of which is inadequate income to -- for rising health care. And Health Care Reform that will lower costs and lengthen lives. Nor can we stop investing in science and technology to train our young people of all races. For the jobs tomorrow and act on what we learn. About our bodies our businesses and our climbed. We must push open those stubborn days. We cannot be discouraged by a Supreme Court decision. That said we don't need this critical provision of the voting rights act because. Look at the states it made it harder for African Americans and Hispanics and students. In the elderly Indian -- man. -- -- -- -- What do you know. They showed up stood line for hours and voted anyway so obviously we don't need. -- he got along. But a greater democracy. Does not make it harder to vote then the -- assault weapon. We must Oakland -- golden day. And let us not forget that while racial divide persist and must not be denied. The whole American landscape is littered. With the lost dreams and dashed hopes. Of people of all races. And the great irony of the current moment is that the future is -- program would more possibilities. It is never -- and brighter and what we could become. If we push open. Those stubborn gates. And if we do it together. The choice remains as it was -- that distant summer day fifty years ago. Cooperate and -- Are -- each other and all the we should all thank god -- doctor king and John Lewis. And all those who gave us a dream to -- us. A -- they paid for like our founders put their lives their fortunes their sacred honor. And we thank you for reminding us that America. Is always becoming. Always on a journey. And we all every single citizen among us. Have to run our land. God bless them and godless Americans. President Bill Clinton reminding everyone of the doctor king's speeches and young men and -- futile war wounds on.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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