Black Affairs, Africa and Development

John Lewis: ‘We’re Better People’ 50 Years After March On Washington

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Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March On Washington, discussed the continuing battle for civil rights on Friday, telling MSNBC's Rev. Al Sharpton that Americans are "better people" 50 years after the original event.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's commemoration of the historic march, Lewis said "we have come too far to stop" the fight for equality.

"I must say, I feel more than lucky but very blessed to be able to stand here 50 years later and to see the progress we have made," Lewis said. “And just to see the changes have occurred. If someone had told me 50 years ago that an African-American would be in the White House as the president, I probably would have said 'you’re crazy. You are out of your mind. You don’t know what you’re talking about.' The country is a different country, and we’re better people.”

Lewis, the last surviving speaker from the 1963 event, was 23 when he spoke at the Lincoln Memorial on the same day of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. Lewis will speak at Saturday's commemorative march, which over 100,000 people were expected to attend.

“We will never ever give up and we can never give out,” Lewis told Sharpton. “We have to use our energy and resources, our power and our persuasion.”

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