Source: Lindsey Boerma / CBS News
One hundred and fifty years since the Emancipation Proclamation and fifty years after his March on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “would have said, ‘My dream is in the process of becoming real,'” Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. – who spoke on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial both in 1963 and Saturday during a commemorative rally – said Sunday on “Face the Nation.”
“He’d be grateful to see an African American as president of the United States: ‘It’s almost unreal, unbelievable,’ Dr. King would have said,” according to Lewis, who has called king his “mentor.” “If Dr. King could speak to us, he would say, ‘We’ve come a distance. We’ve made a lot of progress. You’re in the process of laying down the burden of race. But we’re not there yet.'”
Lewis recalled his and King’s meeting in 1963 with then-President John F. Kennedy: “A. Philip Randolph, one of the leaders during that period, spoke up and said, ‘Mr. President, the masses are restless… And we’re going to march on Washington.’ And you can tell by the body language of the president he, sort of started moving and twisting, and he said, ‘Mr. Randolph, if you bring all these people to Washington, won’t there be violence and chaos and disorder? We will never get a civil rights bill through the Congress.'”
Gen. Colin Powell – who was fighting in Vietnam at the time of King’s immortalized “I have a dream” speech, but went on to serve as the first African-American secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – hailed King as the leader of the post-Civil War civil war, in light of Jim Crow and segregation. He bolstered Lewis’s interpretation of what King would say if he were alive today.
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