in their fathers’ footsteps

Their fathers led the nation in the early years amid the struggle by black America for civil rights — and both Lynda Bird Johnson Robb and Caroline Kennedy see much work still to be done.

At the 50th anniversary ceremony of the March on Washington, Robb appealed for continued progress. She remembered the words of Coretta Scott King, telling the crowd that, “Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation.”

Robb’s father, President Lyndon Johnson, signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Kennedy, daughter of President John F. Kennedy and the nominee to be ambassador to Japan, said the country cannot forget all those who sacrificed so much when they marched 50 years ago.

 

time TO ‘renew this dream’

Oprah Winfrey, leading the celebrity contingent, recalled watching the march as a 9-year-old girl and wishing she could be there to see a young man who “was able to force an entire country to wake up, to look at itself and to eventually change.”

King’s oldest son, Martin Luther King III, just 5 when his father spoke at the Mall, spoke of a dream “not yet realized” in full. “We’ve got a lot of work to do but none of us should be any ways tired,” he said. “Why? Because we’ve come much too far from where we started.”

Jamie Foxx tried to fire up a new generation of performers and ordinary “young folks” by drawing on the example of Harry Belafonte, who stood with King 50 years ago. “It’s time for us to stand up now and renew this dream,” Foxx declared.

Forest Whitaker told the crowd it was their “moment to join those silent heroes of the past. You now have the responsibility to carry the torch.”

Former President George W. Bush didn’t attend because he was recovering from a recent heart procedure. But he said in a statement, that Obama’s presidency is a story that reflects “the promise of America” and “will help us honor the man who inspired millions to redeem that promise.”

news services