President Obama and the March on Washington 50 Years Later

Race in America today, Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream speech revisited.
4:57 | 08/28/13

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Transcript for President Obama and the March on Washington 50 Years Later
Back here at home today app entire nation remembered a dream that changed america. 50 years ago dr. Martin luther king stood on the steps of the lincoln memorial to preach his message of equality and today the first african-american president walked those steps as thousands of people stood in the rain to honor the largest civil rights gathering in history all those years ago. Our team coverage begins with abc's byron pitts at the link on memorial. Reporter: Standing in the pot that reverend king stood 50 years ago. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up live up the true meaning of its creed. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. Reporter: Today president obama spoke to the needs of the nation. The test was not and never has been whether the doors of opportunity are cracked a bit wider for a few. It's whether our economic system provides a fair shot for the many. Reporter: It was the rarest of moments in american history. Three american presidents together to remember a king. The choice remains as it was on that distant summer day 50 years ago. Cooperate and thrive or fight with each other and fall behind. Reporter:50 years ago today a record quarter million people endured the august heat and humiliation of segregation to come to washington, put on their sunday best to say in dignified solidarity america must change. Today the dress far more casual, the sense of history still strong. There were stars on stage ♪ ♪ Reporter: Speaker after speaker touched upon the words that changed american history. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Reporter: King's dream may not yet be fulfilled but the president insisted america is on its way. To dismiss the magnitude of this progress, to suggest as some sometimes do that little has changed, that dishonors the courage and the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march in those years. Reporter: Everyone today including president obama was short on specifics, but like many of the feel good speeches 50 years ago, the hard work goes on elsewhere. Diane? It does and seeing all those families gathered in washington today reminds everyone how much children have to learn about those who open the doors for them. Now abc's pierre thomas was there and brings us what has been achieved and what is still to be done. Reporter: Some came to reflect on the african-american journey. It's a rededication of myself to what I fought to struggle. Reporter: Some came for children to better understand their history taej. You have to dream it, believe in it and act it. Reporter: Some came to revisit the pain of their forefathers. I got really emotional just knowing what my mother and the rest of the people her age were experiencing. I have a dream today. Reporter: How much of dr. King's dream has been realized? The country is clearly more color blind with blacks and whites living and working side by side. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Reporter: In 1963 only 25 percent of african-americans finished high school. Today more than 87% of blacks graduate. But are we post racial? The facts suggest not. The negro lives on a lonely island of property. Reporter: In 1963 the number of blacks living in poverty was roughly 50 percent. The number now stands at 28 percent. Black unemployment is nearly twice as high as white unemployment. Enough is enough. Let's get onto the dream. Reporter: Andrew young was in the trenches with dr. King. What would dr. King be fighting for today? He had the audacity to believe every child should have enough to eat and enough education. Reporter: Dr. King's words so many years ago still ring true. 1963 is not an end but a beginning. Reporter:50 years later, diane, the end is not yet in sight. Pierre, it was great to have you reporting in today on this historic and memorable day. Thank you.

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

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