On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, North Carolina's political leaders are speaking out about the impact the landmark demonstration had on the nation.
The seminal 1963 march saw hundreds of thousands rally in the nation's capital to stomp out racism and create a land of opportunity for all. The march culminated with Martin Luther King Kr. delivering his historic "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
Gov. Pat McCrory said that North Carolinians should "stand on the shoulders of what was accomplished 50 years ago today at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial."
McCrory added, "The fight for equal access to opportunity is far from over. We may not agree on the route we take, however our destination is undeniable."
Below are complete remarks made by North Carolina political leaders on the historic march.
"All North Carolinians stand on the shoulders of what was accomplished 50 years ago today at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. We must keep Dr. Martin Luther King's words alive, not by merely hearing or reciting them, but by transforming them into deeds that will create economic and educational opportunities for all. We must work together to create jobs, expand educational opportunities that will train and retrain our workforce, and lower the tax burden on our families to encourage more first-time homeowners and entrepreneurs whose success will stabilize our communities.
"The fight for equal access to opportunity is far from over. We may not agree on the route we take, however our destination is undeniable. Each of us must believe that regardless of what we have or where we come from, we can go as far as our education, work, and dreams will take us. And we must be committed to a life of personal responsibility that will make Dr. King's dream come true for all Americans."
"Fifty years ago today, 200,000 men and women on the National Mall sang ‘we shall overcome' and demonstrated for jobs and for freedom as Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. inspired America to become a better nation. That historic day is a seminal moment in our nation's history and reminds us that Americans who come together for a just cause can constitute a powerful force for good. Dr. King and his dream of an America free from the chains of discrimination and segregation left an indelible mark on our country, and his words still ring as true today as they did 50 years ago.
"I was honored to spend time with another civil rights hero, Congressman John Lewis, as we co-led this year's Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage. Congressman Lewis also participated in the March on Washington where he was the youngest speaker to address the crowd. It was an incredible honor to join him this past February in re-tracing the steps that shaped the civil rights movement.
"It was the bravery and perseverance of Dr. King, Congressman Lewis and the millions of other individuals who peacefully demonstrated in cities across America that moved our country forward and led to enactment of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, two of the most important bills to move through Congress in the last century.
"While we have made much progress over 50 years, our work is not complete, and we must remain ever vigilant in protecting the rights of all Americans. Today, many African-Americans disproportionately face economic challenges and struggle to find work. In North Carolina, citizens will face new obstacles as they attempt to exercise the right to vote. I am deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court's recent ruling gutted the Voting Rights Act and that the North Carolina General Assembly jumped at the chance to limit voter access. I will continue to fight for equal rights for all North Carolinians through better jobs, increased educational opportunities and access to the ballot box."
"We take pause today to reflect on the anniversary of one of the most important civil rights moments in our nation's history. 50 years ago today, hundreds of thousands of equality seeking, peace loving Americans descended upon our nation's capital, people of all different walks of life joined together to stand up for the fundamental right of equality and freedom, as promised by our founding fathers.
"Today is a solemn reminder that we must never let our guard down in the fight to protect and expand the promise of our country's fundamental freedoms. The recent assault on these freedoms from the extremists in Raleigh are a painful reminder that the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King is far from realized. We see now more than ever that elections have consequences. In his famous speech, Dr. King spoke of 'the urgency of the moment.'
"Today, a similar urgency has come to North Carolina. We must take a step beyond partisan tricks and legislative roadblocks and recommit ourselves, with urgency, to free and fair access to the ballot box for all North Carolinians."