Hundreds gathered at the steps of the state Capitol in Little Rock to pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his famous "I Have A Dream" speech at a Wednesday afternoon ceremony.
Gov. Mike Beebe shared his thoughts on the event, noting the profound impact King's speech had on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and how it still resonates within society today.
The ceremony began with a march around the Capitol building by members of the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and students from various schools while North Little Rock School District representative Cecil Gibson recited the speech. Remarks were made by various dignitaries, including Rep. John Walker, D-Little Rock, and Sen. Linda Chesterfield, D-Little Rock.
King spoke to around 250,000 supporters of the Civil Rights Movement on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963 — a speech that riveted those in attendance and has gone down in history as one of the more iconic speeches in American history.
In his nearly 20-minute speech, which followed the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, King called for an end to racism in the United States and abroad, referencing the Emancipation Proclamation and proclaiming that one day all African-Americans will be "free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last."
Following his remarks, Beebe and others in the crowd tolled a bell to commemorate the occasion.
Read more about this story in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.