50th anniversary of Martin Luther King speech

  • 28 August 2013
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Nel finds out why King's speech became so famous

People across the world are today celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of the most important speeches of all time.

On 28 August, 1963 civil rights campaigner, Martin Luther King, marched with thousands of people to America's capital, Washington DC.

At the time black people were treated as second class citizens and King wanted that to change.

The speech and paved the way for equal rights across the world.

When King made his speech black people in America were treated unfairly.

In some parts of the country they weren't allowed to use the same schools, diners, cinemas or even public toilets as white people.

On buses black and white Americans sat separately and black people had even been arrested for not giving up their seat for a white person.

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Benjamin Zephaniah talks about King's speech

Fifty years on, America has its first black president, but race is still a sensitive topic and some Americans question whether things have truly changed.

Today more than 25% of black Americans live in poverty: double the proportion of their white counterparts.

Almost 13% of black Americans are unemployed, again double the proportion of white Americans unemployed.

So things may have come a long way, but for many black Americans there's still more to be done to make Martin Luther King's dream of equality become a reality.

Archive from British Pathe. Due to copyright restrictions we cannot include the speech in the online clip.