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STATE OF THE UNION WITH CANDY CROWLEY

Special Edition: Dedication of Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Aired October 16, 2011 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CANDY CROWLEY, HOST: At sunrise, they came to honor the man who had the dream.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BERNICE KING, DAUGHTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I hear my father saying as we dedicate this monument, we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: This is a special edition of STATE OF THE UNION this morning for the dedication of the Martin Luther King memorial. "RELIABLE SOURCES" will return next week.

President Obama arrived here a short time ago and will soon deliver his tribute to Dr. King. This event will close with the extraordinarily rare playing of Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech in its entirety. The King family has approved its use for this one event. The president will speak the entrance to the memorial, a small area that only accommodates a small number of VIPs. The general public is assembled in a large field with its own stage and jumbo trans. Since early morning, they have been listening to music and speeches by some of the people closest to Dr. King.

CNN's Joe Johns is down at the memorial dedication site. Joe, I've been listening to the speeches that I could listen to. It seems a little bit from the podium a mixture of remembrance, looking ahead and a sprinkle of politics thrown in there. Set the scene for us.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: You certainly got all of that right, Candy. We're seeing a bit of the past, the present, and perhaps the future of both the civil rights movement, the social justice movement, and some politics, frankly, thrown in there. And as you said, we are sort of awaiting the appearance of the person who is probably one of the greatest beneficiaries of all of the legacy of Martin Luther King. That would be the first African-American President Barack Obama. So, throughout this day starting around 8:00 Eastern Time right on up until now, a variety of different speakers, including family members of Martin Luther King who actually in some ways were just sort of channeling his memory. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTINE KING FARRIS, SISTER OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: I don't think my brother's legacy could get much larger. But I was wrong because here I am overjoyed and humbled to see this great day when my brother, Martin, takes his symbolic place on the national mall.

(APPLAUSE)

This is just overwhelming.

BERNICE KING: This is a day that all Americans can be proud of. And may I remind you that this is not just a celebration for African- Americans but for Americans and citizens around this world.

(APPLAUSE)

And no doubt, today the world celebrates with us. Today, our nation acknowledges its growth again, for this memorial represents the stair step beyond its laws of segregation. It symbolizes that a black preacher, prophet from the south effected a social change that helped to redeem the soul of America.

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, SON OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: It is also important to not place too much emphasis on Martin Luther King the idol, but not enough emphasis on the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr.

(APPLAUSE)

So while we commemorate his memory today with this great memorial, let us not confuse nor forget what he stood for and died for. The young people around this nation organizing a very interesting, but let us not forget the ideals he gave up his life for, love, peace, equality, jobs, education, nonviolence, decent housing, and an end to war.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: Just a lot of living history out here on the mall right now, Candy. And once again, we're told the president of the United States now on his way over to this memorial for his part of this event.

CROWLEY: You know, Joe, I talked with Congressman John Lewis, a man who I know you know well, as I do. And one of the things that we were talking about President Obama, and he said that on inauguration day, President Obama gave to John Lewis a picture of the day and wrote on it "Because of you, John," and the idea that this memorial is being dedicated -- and it's been 15 years in the making. Being dedicated at time that an African-American is serving as president is amazing because I think even when Martin Luther King, Jr.'s fraternity, black fraternity came up with the idea of a memorial, even they could not envision where we would be just really as far as history is concerned. Just a short 15 years away.

JOHNS: Yes. That's true. Well, there is a certain amount of amazement I think. And I wasn't able to hear all of your question because there's a helicopter and a lot of noise flying around here. But I think the gist of it is this notion of having an African- American president just however many years after the death of Martin Luther, King. There were a number of leaders if you will from the civil rights movement still alive here speaking including John Lewis. And why we don't just listen to them and come back and talk about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS, ASSOCIATE OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: Dr. King was our leader. He'd never, ever ask us to do anything that he will not do. He was arrested, jailed, beaten, and constantly harassed. His home was bombed. He was stabbed. He suffered from the errors of hate and a grassroots struggle to prove that love and internal power can overcome the limitation of hate. Had it not been for the philosophy of peace, the philosophy of nonviolence that he preached, and his insistence on the nonviolent resistant based on brotherly love, this would be a different nation. We would be living in a different place today.

REV. JOSEPH LOWERY, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS: We recognize here that in the midst of the amazing truths that an African-American preacher who never held public political office is recognized here among the fathers of the country. Indeed, he has become a father of the country.

(APPLAUSE)

For his leadership gave birth to a new America.

ANDREW YOUNG, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS: But you think of Martin Luther King as a giant of a man. But the one complex he had was a complex about his height. He was really just 5'7", and he was always getting upset with tall people who looked down on him. Now, he's 30- feet tall looking down on everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: Hearing the president of the United States just now arriving here at the dedication of the Martin Luther King memorial on the mall. That last sound bite, Candy, with Andrew Young pretty funny. But also sort of underscores the notion that there's actually been quite a bit of controversies surrounding this memorial about the inscription, about the placement, about the person who designed it. But I have to tell you, and I think you know, too, from living in the city, every time there's another big memorial put up, it seems there's a big controversy. And it always dies down. Also, Martin Luther King himself was a pretty controversial figure to many people. They call him just a peacemaker, but he was also very much an agitator. And people here know that.

CROWLEY: Joe Johns on the mall for us. CNN, of course, is going to be covering the president's speech. A very important speech both for those in the audience and to the president coming up. We're going to take a break, but we'll be back with Joe Johns and more of the speakers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Welcome back to CNN's coverage of the dedication of the memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That is a live picture you are looking at right now. A picture of the memorial as you can walk in to in on two sides. It is a massive, massive structure. Today being dedicated amidst a flood of memories, and dreams for the future, a little bit of politics. Speaking of which we want to take you to the speaker right now. A man who knows his way around politics and words. It's the Reverend Al Sharpton.

REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We line up to vote, don't make this partisan. When you mess with Social Security, this is not about Obama, this is about our mama. We will vote like we never voted before.

(CHEERING)

Let me say as I close, when we go through no doubts, through that temple of hope, to the stone of hope, let them come from all over the world to the stone of hope where you fight in Europe, where you fight in the Middle East, where you fight in Africa, come here to the King monument and see the stone of hope. And when you walk through, you'll see a man standing in a pasture of faith because we not only had hope, but we had faith. Faith that fed us when we were hungry. Faith that clothed us when we were naked. Faith that brought us from the back of the bus toward the White House, from the outhouse to the White House. We come this far by faith! Leaning on the lord, trusting in his holy way! He never -- he never -- he never failed us yet!

(APPLAUSE)

CROWLEY: Reverend Al Sharpton. A little bit sermon, little bit politics, a little bit of a rally. This, again, the dedication of the memorial on the Washington mall to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. This -- he was the first African-American to be named "Time's" man of the year. The youngest person at the time to ever win a Nobel Peace Prize, but there were so very many times between those awards and when he first started where Dr. King was in the forefront of the very front lines of the civil rights movement which meant that there were beatings, there were arrests, and along with him was a man who is now a congressman, his name is John Lewis of Georgia. I spoke with him earlier. In August of 1963, a chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis was the youngest speaker at the march on Washington. And he watched Dr. King as King delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech. I asked Lewis to reflect on that day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: On that day, were you excited about the possibilities? Were you frightened about the possibilities? What -- can you kind of capture that moment for us?

LEWIS: Well, on that day, I think we all were pretty pleased, really happy. The leadership, all of us of the movement had gone up on Capitol Hill to visit with the bipartisan leadership on the House side. Then we went up on the Senate side. And then we started walking down Constitution Avenue, trying to move toward the Washington monument and the Lincoln memorial. And the people were already marching. You saw just hundred and thousands of people coming from union station, and we thought we were supposed to be the ones leading the march, but they were already marching. It was like, there go my people, let me catch up with them.

CROWLEY: Tell me about the day that President Obama was inaugurated. I know that he signed a picture for you. Tell me what he wrote on it, and where do you keep it?

LEWIS: President Obama on that day after the inauguration was over, he signed a photograph and he said "Because of you, John, Barack Obama." I keep it in Atlanta in our home there. And I will cherish it forever.

CROWLEY: That must mean?

LEWIS: It means everything. You know, on that day I cried, and I cried. It was tears of happiness, tears of joy. And I was just wishing that some people that I'd known, I wish they could have been there.

CROWLEY: One of the things that you said to someone around inauguration time for President Obama was that Barack Obama is what comes at the end of that bridge in Selma, talking about the Selma to Montgomery marches where there were brutal beatings, yourself included. But it was so key in the voting rights act. Has President Obama at any point been a disappointment to you?

LEWIS: This president has not been a disappointment to me. This young president has been trying. He's been pulling people together, been working hard. And I think the best days for him as president is yet to come.

CROWLEY: And what do you make of the criticism, some of it from the Congressional Black Caucus, that he has not been helpful to the African-American community specifically? There is anger toward him at being too accommodating, anger at him not offering help, jobs in particular, economic help to the African-American community. Do you think that frustration is misplaced, or do you think it's valid?

LEWIS: No, I think some of the frustration -- and I understand why some of my friends and some of my colleagues could be frustrated or maybe disappointed. But we must keep in mind that the struggle is not just a struggle that last one day, one week, or one political term, presidential term. It's a struggle of a lifetime. And Barack Obama is not just a president of African-Americans. He is the president of all Americans. So, you only have a short time -- I'm not saying that we should be patient because in another period where I spoke on the march on Washington, I say it in 1963, when I was 23 years old, I said, we cannot be patient, we cannot wait. We want our freedom, and we want it now. So I understand that. But this president came in to office facing so many problems, so many difficulties. So, let's work with him. CROWLEY: So, it's OK with you that he doesn't specifically target package toward the African-American community at this point?

LEWIS: I think this president must target the whole of America. Whether we are African-American, Latino, Asian American, white American, a Native American, we're all in the same boat. And to help one of us or help all of us.

CROWLEY: You know, we also have a picture of you when they broke ground for the Martin Luther King memorial. In which you cried that day, as well. Do you remember what was going through your mind?

LEWIS: I was crying because I started thinking about Dr. King. I started to think about the first time I met the man. I met him at a little church in Montgomery 50 miles from my home. And when I walked through the door of this little church and saw him, he said, "Are you the boy from Troy? Are you John Lewis?" And I said, "Dr. King, I'm John Robert Lewis." I gave him the whole name, and he started calling me "The boy from Troy." And I just lost it.

CROWLEY: And at the time you were heading the Student Nonviolent...

LEWIS: Coordinating.

CROWLEY: Yes. The Coordinating Committee at that point. So, he knew of you.

LEWIS: Well, he knew of me, and we got to know each other. And it was wonderful working with him. He was my inspiration. He was my hero.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: John Lewis again, with Martin Luther King on the day of that march in 1963 on the Washington mall. This dedication was supposed to take place on the 40th anniversary this past August. Instead, we had a hurricane, and it had to be postponed until now. Later on, we're going to show you the entire "I have a dream" speech. But more of our special coverage of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial dedication here in Washington comes next. We want to leave you before this break with some of the choir now singing at the dedication ceremony.

(CHOIR SINGING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Welcome back to CNN's special coverage of the dedication of a memorial on the mall here in Washington to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who is the first non-president and non-war hero ever to have any kind of memorial for him in this area, in Washington. Another first, back to Martin Luther King who had many, many of them during his lifetime.

Down on the mall, taking all of this incredible day is our correspondent Athena Jones. Athena, I know you've been talking to people all day long. We've seen the luminaries down there, but there are all just folks that wanted to go there to be a part of this.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, there are thousands of people here in the crowd. It's been a very celebratory atmosphere. You've seen a lot of the program. Hearing from civil rights leaders, hearing from Dr. King's children. Hearing from the poet, Nikki Giovanni. But I've also talked to some people here in the crowd about why it was important for them to come.

Let me bring in Allison Johnson who's from Washington, D.C. Tell me why you decided to come today. Why it was important?

ALLISON JOHNSON, WASHINGTON, D.C. RESIDENT: This is a historic moment. We are here witnessing history, a man who fought for social, economic, and political justice is being honored today and we all should be here to honor him.

JONES: And one more thing that I thought was interesting, a lot of the speeches we've heard, whether it was from Andrew Young who spoke about the housing market collapse and the need to keep the President Obama in office, even Marian Wright Edelman talked about the need not focus so much on cuts that you're hurting the poor, are you surprised at the political nature of some of the discussion and the fact that they've talked a lot about Occupy Wall Street?

JOHNSON: No, because if we think about it, Dr. King -- he would definitely have been there marching all this time because he was fighting for the same things that they're fighting for, social, economic, and political justice. So, he would be out there, and so everyone is acknowledging that the fight continues. You know, his legacy is the fact that we're still fighting for the 99 percent, and he would be out there with us.

JONES: Last question, why is it important to bring your daughter to this event?

JOHNSON: Because we know that the future generations, they have to understand that we are building the United States of America every single day. And we can't stop fighting for all of us. And that's why we come out here and celebrate him, we celebrate our president and the future that we can build together.

JONES: Great. Well, thank you.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

JONES: And so you can see, Candy, it's been some parts church service, lots of hymnals and gospels sung. And part rally, as well. Certainly a political message to a lot of the speeches we've been hearing and some of the people in the audience here.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. And certainly that is in keeping with so many of the events for Dr. Martin Luther King during his lifetime and not at all surprising. President Obama is now on the grounds getting his first tour, Athena, of that monument. Take me through what you have seen. What is it like when you first saw this monument?

JONES: Well, you know, we visited back in August before the original date of the dedication, of course, as you know. It was set for August 28, which would have been the 48th anniversary of the march on Washington and of the famous "I have a dream" speech. And so, you can't see it from where I am right now, but back behind the stage is where it's located. You see that giant 30-foot-tall statue of Dr. King emerging from the stone of hope. All of these quotes and -- from his sermons and his speeches etched on the walls around the site. It's quite impressive. You have the statue of Dr. King overlooking the tidal basin. And so it's quite an impressive look.

You know, the Obama family was able to come for a sneak peek the other night, Friday night, after dark, though. So now they're getting a chance to view it and tour it in the light of day which will certainly give them a better impression of what they're seeing. So it should be an interesting sight for people to come and see. As you know, there has been some controversy surrounding the statue. There was an issue about one of the inscriptions where he says, "I was a drum major for peace, justice and righteousness." The idea that it was shorten a great deal. There's been controversy over the past, there was a Chinese sculptor. But for the most part today has been all about celebration and happiness of this came to be -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Athena Jones, thank you very much. Martin Luther King's life, of course, all about controversy. I don't think he would have been surprised or bothered by any of it today at the dedication of his memorial.

Up next, we'll of course have more coverage. The president now taking a private tour of this memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. Still to come, Aretha Franklin and the president of the United States.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Thank you for joining us on this, our special coverage of the dedication of the memorial -- of the memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., originally planned for August, but we had quite a hurricane come through. It was canceled until today.

And our -- bringing in our Joe Johns, who's down at the Mall. What a day you got. No hurricane Irene today. This just seems picture perfect...

JOHNS: Fantastic.

CROWLEY: ... for this memorial.

JOHNS: It really is, really has been picture perfect and a far cry from that hurricane just a few weeks ago.

I wanted to give you some sense of where we are. We're standing behind the bulk of the crowd, obviously. And if you look in front of that, there's a Jumbotron where we've been watching the president of the United States and his family as they toured the monument itself. And you see the stage. On the other side of all of that, in the distance, is where the memorial actually is. That's where the president is. It's a very enclosed space, not a lot of people. And the president, it appears, is just now almost headed to the podium. But we can't see him. We're all watching it on television from this point of view. So if I just step out, you can get some idea of the perspective, at least.

This is quite a moment here, Candy, as you know, because I don't think we've really dealt enough with the symbolism of this man, who is actually one of the greatest beneficiaries of the legacy of the president -- of the legacy of Martin Luther King. That is because he's the first African-American president. And easy to see why, if Martin Luther King had not done what he did in so many different ways, it wouldn't have been possible for Barack Obama to become president, Candy.

CROWLEY: Well, and in fact, Joe, during the president's campaign for the presidency, he -- "The Audacity of Hope," in fact, came from one of Martin Luther King's speeches. So certainly, he was always well aware of the history that went before him.

I was just sitting here, thinking the president was born in August of '61. So when that march on Washington, the famous "I have a dream speech" -- he'd just turned 2 years old. He was not yet 7 when Martin Luther King died.

And it's just -- to me, I love the symmetry of this young African-American president being the one to speak at the dedication of the memorial. So you must feel so much history and so much present there, as well.

JOHNS: Yes. And you know, fascinating because of his age. In some ways, he's almost post the Civil Rights era, as to opposed to, say, a Herman Cain, also now right now a real contender on the Republican side, an African-American who was in college in 1963 and pretty much didn't involve himself in the Civil Rights movement.

So you have a real clash there of the -- of politics, if you will, and how people -- on one hand, somebody who chose not to participate, on the other hand, a president who was too young to participate in the Civil Rights movement. So that -- that's something very interesting going on here in American politics, not to mention the fact that you have two African-Americans both very much in the mix in the presidential race, if you will.

And it wouldn't have been possible but for desegregation, but for the marchers in Selma and Montgomery and so many other places in the South to bring in more African-Americans into the political process and into the voting process -- Candy.

CROWLEY: I think some of the things that are missed by those who haven't studied history or lived it, at this point, is the sheer courage of a Martin Luther King, of a John Lewis, of a Jesse Jackson, of those who really -- you know, Joseph Lowery -- there's just so many that really put their lives on the line. It seems so impossible sitting here in 2011 with an African-American president. But the truth is, they were dangerous times for these men.

JOHNS: Extremely dangerous times. And you know, we know of numbers of people in the Civil Rights movement who were irreparably harmed. I mean, there were people who died, certainly. There were people who were jailed. Martin Luther King himself survived a stabbing attack that nearly killed him, even long before that day when he was shot to death. And so a lot of people in this movement who never lived to see this day.

And you know, even a reference to it made by John Lewis, who said there were something like 10 speakers here in the march on Washington in August of 1963, and out of those 10, Martin Luther King was number 10. He, John Lewis, was number six. And he said -- I believe I heard him say he's the only one left.

So that tells you that, you know, age has taken some of them, as well as -- you know, there were some grave dangers for some of those people involved in the Civil Rights movement in those days.

CROWLEY: And certainly, five years later, Martin Luther King would be assassinated.

Joe, I ask permission to ask this question of you. Give me your personal reflections on being down there today.

JOHNS: Well, you know, I have to tell you, I was one of those -- I was one of those people who was born in the time of but not old enough to participate in any of the Civil Rights activities. But my family was involved in it, very especially because I was sort of a member of a very large African-American church in Columbus, Ohio, Shiloh Baptist Church, and my godfather was a deacon in that church and was very much involved in the place, that intersection where black politics and black religion sort of crosses the line, if you will, as we know it all does.

And they had conversations, the deacon board did, about how to view Martin Luther King back in those days. And just I barely remember these conversations, whether he was an agitator, whether he was a force for change, a good force for change, or whether he was going to bring down some conflagration of -- confrontation, if you will, between white Americans in Columbus, Ohio, and the African- American community.

So I got some sense of the kind of agitator he was, the kind of agent for change, and the way he made people nervous. So fast-forward to today. Because of my job -- and partly, obviously, I can tell you, I am a beneficiary of Martin Luther King simply because he pushed so hard to get his movement and his people in the media. He made the media a force for change.

We saw, you know, Dan Rather out here, for example. We see Roland Martin has participated in this program. Gwen Ifill, all African-Americans -- you know, two African-American journalists. So there's so much to say. And it's been fascinating to watch partly because of my job, partly because of growing up and watching this movement, Candy. CROWLEY: I imagine it's just -- it's a great day.

I want to tell our viewers that we are now expecting -- and I am seeing on my monitor -- Joe can't see it -- Aretha Franklin coming up to the stage. We are expecting her to sing a musical composition. So let us stop for a moment. The incomparable Aretha Franklin.

ARETHA FRANKLIN, SINGER: What a pleasure it is to be here with you and to be a part of this magnanimous and most historical day of remembrance for a man who was so great and so lovely.

Good morning, Christine (ph). How are you?

I'm going sing something that Dr. King often requested, and as a matter of fact, he requested it on the morning that he was going to Billy Kyle's (ph) for dinner. May we have the track, please.

Good morning, Dr. Lowery.

(SINGING)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

FRANKLIN: Hallelujah!

CROWLEY: Aretha Franklin kicking off sort of the -- well, at least one of the highlights of a program with many highlights. Now what we're expecting is to hear from Harry Johnson, the president and CEO of the Martin Luther King National Memorial Foundation, the guy that made this happen.

HARRY JOHNSON, PRES., MLK NATIONAL MEMORIAL PROJECT FOUNDATION: God bless Aretha Franklin. August 28, that week, we had a -- an earthquake, and then a lady named Irene paid us a visit. And it was indeed a dark day for me. But joy cometh in the morning, and what a glorious morning this is today.

As I stand here and look across the transformed landscape, I see a wonderful example of what we can accomplish with this faith and with a stone of hope. We come together today to honor and celebrate the ideals of a humble man who understood that all humanity is linked together. And we come together to dedicate the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial, our memorial, the world's memorial.

Many of you seated here throughout this day and throughout this country have contributed years of your time, talents and money to help us build the memorial we dedicate today. It has been both humbling and uplifting for me to be a part of this magnificent undertaking. Our hope is that through this memorial, Dr. King's legacy will continue to touch those who walked with him, those inspired by him, and future generations who will get to know him.

On behalf of the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial Project Foundation, I want to thank everyone for doing so much, so long, to help us arrive at this triumphant day in history. Once more, I also thank you to my family and to the staff of the MLK Memorial, a small group of folks that have worked tirelessly to make Dr. King's dream a reality right here on our National Mall.

And so it is, indeed, with great pleasure and honor that I have to introduce to you the president of the United States, President Barack Obama.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Please be seated.

An earthquake and a hurricane may have delayed this day, but this is a day that would not be denied. For this day, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, return to the National Mall. In this place, he will stand for all time among monuments to those who fathered this nation and those who defended it, a black preacher, no official rank or title, who somehow gave voice to our deepest dreams and our most lasting ideas, a man who stirred our conscience and thereby helped make our union more perfect.

Dr. King would be the first to remind us that this memorial is not for him alone. The movement of which he was a part depended on an entire generation of leaders. Many are here today. And for their service and their sacrifice we owe them our everlasting gratitude. This is a monument to your collective achievement.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: Some giants of the Civil Rights movement, like Rosa Parks and Dorothy Height, Benjamin Hooks, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth -- they've been taken from us these past few years. This monument attests to their strength and their courage. And while we miss them dearly, we know they rest in a better place.

And finally, there are the multitudes of men and women whose names never appear in the history books, those who marched and those who sang, those who sat in and those who stood firm, those who organized and those who mobilized, all those men and women who through countless acts of quiet heroism helped bring about changes few thought were even possible.

By the thousands, said Dr. King, faceless, anonymous, relentless young people, black and white, have taken our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

To those men and women, those foot soldiers for justice, know that this monument is yours, as well. Nearly half a century has passed since that historic march on Washington, a day when thousands upon thousands gathered for jobs and for freedom. That is what our school children remember best when they think of Dr. King, his booming voice across this mall calling on America to make freedom a reality for all of God's children, prophesizing of the day when the jangling discord of our nation would be transformed into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. It is right that we honor that march, that we lift up Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech, for without that shining moment, without Dr. King's glorious words, we might not have had the courage to come as far as we have. Because of that hopeful vision, because of Dr. King's moral imagination, barricades began to fall and bigotry began to fade, new doors of opportunity swung open for an entire generation.

Yes, laws changed, but hearts and minds changed, as well. Look at the faces here around you, and you see an America that is more fair and more free and more just than the one Dr. King addressed that day. We are right to savor that slow but certain progress, progress that's expressed itself in a million ways large and small across this nation every single day as people of all colors and creeds live together and work together and fight alongside one another and learn together and build together and love one another.

So it is right for us to celebrate today Dr. King's dream and his vision of unity. And yet it is also important on this day to remind ourselves that such progress did not come easily, that Dr. King's faith was hard won, that it sprung out of a harsh reality and some bitter disappointments.

It is right for us to celebrate Dr. King's marvelous oratory, but it is worth remembering that progress did not come from words alone. Progress was hard. Progress was purchased through enduring the smack of billyclubs and the blast of firehoses. It was bought with days in jail cells and nights of bomb threats. For every victory during the height of the Civil Rights movement, there were setbacks and there were defeats.

We forget now, but during his life, Dr. King wasn't always considered a unifying figure. Even after rising to prominence, even after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King was vilified by many, denounced as a rabble-rouser and agitator, a communist and a radical. He was even attacked by his own people, by those who felt he was going to fast or those who felt he was going too slow, by those who felt he shouldn't meddle in issues like the Vietnam war or the rights of union workers. We know from his own testimony the doubts and the pain this caused him and that the controversy that would swirl around his actions would last until the fateful day he died.

I raise all this because nearly 50 years after the march on Washington, our work, Dr. King's work, is not yet complete. We gather here at a moment of great challenge and great change. In the first decade of this new century, we have been tested by war and by tragedy, by an economic crisis and its aftermath that has left millions out of work and poverty on the rise and millions more just struggling to get by.

Indeed, even before this crisis struck, we had endured a decade of rising inequality and stagnant wages. In too many troubled neighborhoods across the country, the conditions of our poorest citizens appear little changed from what existed 50 years ago, neighborhoods with underfunded schools and broken-down slums, inadequate health care, constant violence, neighborhoods in which too many young people grow up with little hope and few prospects for the future.

Our work is not done. And so on this day in which we celebrate a man and a movement that did so much for this country, let us draw strength from those earlier struggles.

First and foremost, let us remember that change has never been quick. Change has never been simple or without controversy. Change depends on persistence. Change requires determination.

It took a full decade before the moral guidance of Brown Versus Board of Education was translated into the enforcement measures of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. But those 10 long years did not lead Dr. King to give up. He kept on pushing. He kept on speaking. He kept on marching until change finally came.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: And then when even after the Civil Rights and the Voting Rights Act was passed, African-Americans still found themselves trapped in pockets of poverty across the country, Dr. King didn't say those laws were a failure, he didn't say, this is too hard, he didn't say, let's settle for what we've got and go home.

Instead, he said, let's take those victories and broaden our mission to achieve not just civil and political equality but also economic justice. Let's fight for a living wage and better schools and jobs for all who are willing to work.

In other words, when met with hardship, when confronting disappointment, Dr. King refused to accept what he called the "'isness' of today." He kept pushing towards the "'oughtness' of tomorrow."

And so as we think about all the work that we must do, rebuilding an economy that can compete on a global stage, fixing our schools so that every child, not just some, but every child gets a world-class education, and making sure that our health care system is affordable and accessible to all and that our economic system is one in which everybody gets a fair shake and everybody does their fair share, let us not be trapped by what is.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: We can't be discouraged by what is. We've got to keep pushing for what ought to be, the America we ought to leave to our children, mindful that the hardships we face are nothing compared to those Dr. King and his fellow marchers faced 50 years ago.

And that if we maintain our faith in ourselves and in the possibilities of this nation, there is no challenge we cannot surmount.

Just as we draw strength from Dr. King's struggles, so must we draw inspiration from his constant insistence on the oneness of man, the belief in his words that we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. It was that insistence rooted in his Christian faith that led him to tell a group of angry young protesters, I love you as I love my own children, even as one threw a rock that glanced off his neck.

It was that insistence, that belief that God resides in each of us from the high to the low, in the oppressor and the oppressed, that convinced him that people and systems could change.

It fortified his belief in non-violence. It permitted him to place his faith in a government that had fallen short of its ideals. It led him to see his charge not only as freeing black America from the shackles of discrimination, but also free many Americans from their own prejudices, and freeing Americans of every color from the depredations of poverty.

And so at this moment, when our politics appear so sharply polarized and faith in our institutions so greatly diminished, we need more than ever to take heed of Dr. King's teachings.

He calls on us to stand in the other person's shoes, to see through their eyes, to understand their pain. He tells us that we have a duty to fight against poverty even if we are well off, to care about the child in the decrepit school even if our own children are doing fine, to show compassion toward the immigrant family with the knowledge that most of us are only a few generations removed from similar hardships.

To say that we are bound together as one people and must constantly strive to see ourselves in one another is not to argue for a false unity that papers over our differences and ratifies an unjust status quo.

As was true 50 years ago, as has been true throughout human history, those with power and privilege will often decry any call for change as divisive. They'll say any challenge to the existing arrangements are unwise and destabilizing.

Dr. King understood that peace without justice was no peace at all. That aligning our reality with our ideals often requires the speaking of uncomfortable truths and the creative tension of non- violent protests.

But he also understood that to bring about true and lasting change there must be the possibility of reconciliation. That any social movement has to channel this tension through the spirit of love and mutuality.

If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there. That the businessman can enter tough negotiations with his company's union without vilifying the right to collectively bargain.

He would want us to know we can argue fiercely about the proper size and role of government without questioning each other's love for this country with the knowledge that in this democracy government is no distant object but is rather an expression of our common commitments to one another.

He would call on us to assume the best in each other rather than the worst, and challenge one another in ways that ultimately heal rather than wound.

In the end that's what I hope my daughters take away from this monument. I want them to come away from here with a faith in what they can accomplish when they are determined and working for a righteous cause.

I want them to come away from here with a faith in other people and a faith in a benevolent God. This sculpture, massive and iconic as it is, will remind them of Dr. King's strength, but to see him only as larger than life would do a disservice to what he taught us about ourselves.

He would want them to know that he had setbacks, because they will have setbacks. He would want them to know that he had doubts because they will have doubts. He would want them to know that he was flawed, because all of us have flaws.

It is precisely because Dr. King was a man of flesh and blood and not a figure of stone that he inspires us so. His life, his story tells us that change can come if you don't give up.

He would not give up no matter how long it took because in the smallest hamlets and the darkest slums he had witnessed the highest reaches of the human spirit, because in those moments when the struggle seemed most hopeless, he had seen men and women and children conquer their fear.

Because he had seen hills and mountains made low and rough places made plain and the crooked places make straight and God make a way out of now way. That is why we honor this man. Because he had faith in us.

And that is why he belongs on this Mall, because he saw what we might become. That is why Dr. King was so quintessentially American, because for all the hardships we've endured, for all our sometimes tragic history, ours is a story of optimism and achievement and constant striving that is unique upon this earth.

And that is why the rest of the world still looks to us to lead. This is a country where ordinary people find in their hearts the courage to do extraordinary things, the courage to stand up in the face of the fiercest resistance and despair and say, this is wrong and this is right.

We will not settle for what the cynics tell us we have to accept and we will reach again and again no matter the odds for what we know is possible. That is the conviction we must carry now in our hearts.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: As tough as times may be, I know we will overcome. I know there are better days ahead. I know this because of the man towering over us. I know this because all he and his generation endured.

We are here today in a country that dedicated a monument to that legacy. And so with our eyes on the horizon and our faith squarely placed in one another, let us keep striving. Let us keep struggling. Let us keep climbing toward that promised land of a nation and a world that is more fair and more just and more equal for every single child of God.

Thank you. God bless you. And God Bless the United States of America.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

CROWLEY: President Obama, the nation's first African-American president, at the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on a gorgeous day. The backdrop, the body of water you're seeing, is the Tidal Basin. I want to bring in our Joe Johns.

Joe, your impressions of the speech? I thought I heard a lot of politics in there.

JOHNS: A lot. This was Obama the president, the politician, the professor, and in some ways this was a rallying cry to his coalition, his base, answering that question that a lot of people have been asking on both sides of the political spectrum, what happened to that change you were talking about four years ago?

And his answer to his coalition, to his base, change will come if you don't give up. Again and again and again, the president talking here at this sort of moment where he ties himself to Martin Luther King and the whole civil rights movement that began way back when, saying, like Martin Luther King, this presidency can continue if you don't give up. Change isn't easy. It's very difficult.

And a pretty effective outreach, I would say, to his constituencies and something I could expect we'll hear more of on the campaign trail -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Joe, I want to tell our listeners, and maybe we can just open up the mikes for a little bit, they're now singing "We Shall Overcome," as you know, one of the main songs of the civil rights movement.

JOHNS: Absolutely.

(MUSIC PLAYING, "WE SHALL OVERCOME")

CROWLEY: Wow. Joe Johns, probably no song is more associated with the civil rights movement or, indeed, with Dr. Martin Luther Ling, you see Stevie Wonder now coming up to the microphones. Let's pause a minute. Looks like he's going to speak.

STEVIE WONDER, MUSICIAN: It's an exciting day, an exciting moment. A goal set, a goal met. I knew in 1980 when I was in Atlanta, Georgia, and the night before I wrote this song that I imagined this being in this dream, being at a march, we are marching to make Dr. King's birthday a national holiday, I knew then I touched the dream, I saw it, as I did with here today at the monument.

So congratulations, America. Congratulations, the world.

(APPLAUSE)

(MUSIC PLAYING, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY")

CROWLEY: So, what you have just heard is quite a group of folks, Joe Johns. We have just heard from Aretha Franklin, the president of the United States, Stevie Wonder. We heard the singing of "We Shall Overcome," and added to that "Happy Birthday." I suspect Stevie Wonder was asked to see that song to kind of cover as the president makes his way off of the Mall and back to the White House because they are getting ready, Joe, for a very important showing, actually, of the entirety of the "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King made during that 1963 March on Washington.

Very famous sections of that speech have been played, but because the family and the Martin Luther King Foundation own it, it has rarely been seen in its entirety. So we are going to show our -- sorry, we obviously are awaiting that.

And I'm wondering if maybe we can go ahead and take a quick break here and we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: You are looking at the Jumbotron down near the Washington Mall near the sight of the new Martin Luther King Memorial. Right now in the closing of the dedication of that memorial they are showing on the Jumbotron the 1963 March on Washington during which Martin Luther King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in a very rare time for us.

The Martin Luther King Jr. family has agreed to allow the entire speech to be shown, and CNN brings it to you now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.

One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.

This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.

So we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.

Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, when will you be satisfied? We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.

We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only."

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.

You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self- evident: that all men are created equal."

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discord of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning: "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi!

From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

KING: And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: That was Martin Luther King Jr., August 28th, 1963.

Fast forward here to October 16th, 2011, where the president of the United States has just finished joining in in the celebration of the dedication of the statue to Martin Luther King, which is erected very near where he gave that speech 48 years ago.

Joe Johns, a long time ago. We heard some great speeches today, but nothing quite like that.

JOHNS: Absolutely. That's for sure. And so many people don't realize -- I was talking to a couple 18-year-olds who were Howard University students who said that they'd never seen the speech in its entirety.

And, you know, the important thing about that speech, I think, is that it was a threshold moment in the civil rights movement, 1963, the August, there had been marches all over the South. People had been arrested. People had been jailed, had been beaten. They'd turned water hoses on them.

And then they came here to Washington, D.C., and the big question, of course, was what would happen? Would the federal government turn its force on these protesters?

And when they came here, it was peaceful, Martin Luther King gave that rousing speech, it became clear the government would not intervene here in Washington, D.C., in the civil rights movement.

That was a threshold moment, and really that speech sort of sums it all up for so many people, Candy. So a very good time for that speech to be played in its entirety on national television. The people here of course enjoyed it, as well.

CROWLEY: You know, Joe, in talking to some of the people that were there that day about what it felt like, overall, John Lewis had said that it was a very joyful day, and it seems to me that that overall is the impression of today's dedication of the memorial.

JOHNS: Yes. I certainly get that, too. It was a very joyful day here, a beautiful sunny day, this after a hurricane. There's some symbolism in that, if you will.

It's funny, one person I haven't heard too much from today is Donna Brazile, who, as you know, worked so long for Al Gore. She was also the coordinator of the 20th Anniversary March on Washington for Martin Luther King in the 1980s.

I would have loved to have heard her talk a little bit more about that coming together of all these people over the years and remembering the speech of Martin Luther King and others on the Mall, because it wasn't just him.

CROWLEY: Absolutely. Yes. Many of them now gone, John Lewis, the last remaining surviving speaker of that time 48 years ago.

Joe Johns, stick with me a minute. We'll be right back, wrapping up what has been an incredible day on the Washington Mall.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Welcome back to CNN's special coverage of the dedication of the memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The festivities just wrapping up. And festivities is the right word for it today. This was largely a celebration. Yes, there was some look back on a man who was really cut down in his prime by an assassination in 1968, but this was a celebration of what he accomplished largely with a lot of politics thrown in, but in Washington it's awfully hard to have an event that doesn't have politics thrown into it.

I want to bring our Athena Jones, who has been down on the Mall all day long. And let me just throw out that general question. What are your impressions from the day, Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly there has been a big celebratory mood here. As you know, this was postponed from August 28th. You had people who had to reorganize, rearrange their plans. They still came. There's a big group nearby who came from Tennessee State University.

And so it has been a big celebration here, a festive atmosphere, lots of gospel singing, lots of applause. Everyone here is practically wearing these white hats that Tommy Hilfiger handed out that have an inscription on them talking about today.

And so it has been a real positive atmosphere here. One thing that you just brought up that has been really interesting is just how much politics have been a part of many of the speeches here, not just by King's daughter, Bernice King, and by civil rights leaders like Andrew Young, who made a reference to the next election and the need to re-elect the president. And Al Sharpton.

The president himself was pretty political today, as you heard -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Yes, he certainly was. And did you get a sense, because I know you've been talking to folks, they were down there very early this morning, talking to folks all day long, was this an opportunity to come out and see history being made? Did they come out to see the president? What was the general feel for why people came today?

JONES: Well, certainly a sense of history. I believe everyone here, the people we have spoken with, talked about how important it was to come because this is history, and what Dr. King stood for is being honored today.

They wanted to be here, because, as you have mentioned all throughout the program, this is the first monument on the Mall to a non-president or war hero, and the first for a black man, I believe. So they wanted to be here for this occasion.

And you saw everyone coming out. We had Aretha Franklin singing, all of the civil rights leaders -- big civil rights leaders speaking, and the crowd here taking it in as we went along.

One thing I want to bring up though about President Obama is that he made a reference, as many speakers did, to these protests going on on Wall Street and now around the world.

He said that if Dr. King were here today he would remind us that if the unemployed worker can protest what's going on on Wall Street without demonizing everyone who works there. So that's just one example of some of the politics that came into things today here -- Candy.

CROWLEY: It was definitely. And we should probably point out that Tommy Hilfiger was a big contributor to the money that helped build this. He wasn't just here randomly passing out hats to promote his clothing line.

JONES: No, no, no. He spoke -- right.

CROWLEY: And so he spoke. So, anyway, thanks so much, Athena Jones. I know you did great work down there today and quite a day it was.

I want to see if we can bring in our Joe Johns now and talk a little bit about, Joe, the speech itself. This was a president who campaigned with a lot of Martin Luther King-isms, "the audacity of hope." Quoted him frequently. And the whole notion of change.

Remember, this was a change election. And so it was interesting to me that there's so much talk about change. Now it was couched in Martin Luther King's life. For instance, I think the quote I think that you brought up earlier. "His life, his story tells us that change can come if you don't give up."

And you just had the feeling the president might be talking to himself, as well.

JOHNS: Right. Absolutely. And it was really quite striking, if you think about it, because we knew four years ago, since the president ran so much on the notion of change, that when we got to this point people would be asking, well, did you bring about the change you promised?

And there are a lot of people out there, especially Republicans, who continue to harp on that notion that, no, we have not seen the change Barack Obama promised. And now for him to come here, tie himself very skillfully, I think, to Martin Luther King Jr., at the dedication of his monument at the Mall, and then hark back to that notion of King being a change agent, how hard it was, how long it took, and tell his followers, his constituents, if you will, change will come if you don't give up.

But implicitly what the president is saying to those followers is you've got to stick with me here because the job is not done. So that's his answer to those disenfranchised, those disaffected voters, some African-Americans, even, who have said the president hasn't done enough to deal with things like unemployment and many other issues.

He is making the case here that, you know, change will come if you stick with me -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Change sometimes even over 48 years is not complete. Want to give our listeners just an idea of the passage in particular that we're talking about, this from President Obama earlier in the day. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Our work is not done. And so on this day, in which we celebrate a man and a movement that did so much for this country, let us draw strength from those earlier struggles.

First and foremost, let us remember that change has never been quick. Change has never been simple or without controversy. Change depends on persistence. Change requires determination.

It took a full decade before the moral guidance of Brown Versus Board of Education was translated into the enforcement measures of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

But those ten long years did not lead Dr. King to give up. He kept on pushing. He kept on speaking. He kept on marching until change finally came.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Message here, change is not easy, not back in -- 48 years ago, nor is it here. Joe, just your -- you know, in this last minute or so, your impressions of this day.

JOHNS: Well, I have to tell you, my impression of this day is my impression when I first saw this memorial being built. I hadn't seen anything about it. I didn't -- I hadn't read anything. But I looked at it, just the very tops of it, and I knew instantly that the memorial was going to be all about the notion of out of a mountain of despair a stone of hope.

It's so obvious and a very striking image, if you will. So that's the thing that sticks out today out of this entire celebration, if you will, and that's what the monument is all about -- Candy.

CROWLEY: And give our viewers just in these last moments an idea of where this is. The water they we were seeing backed up to the Tidal Basin, you could see sometimes when people were speaking just a little bit of the Jefferson Memorial.

JOHNS: Yes.

CROWLEY: Situate them, a little bit.

JOHNS: Just a little bit of it. Yes. Well, yes, I mean, I wish I could show you, but it's just -- it's so hard to see. You can see the Washington Monument in the distant background. This is the Mall, and so as you go along further down, there's the Jefferson.

But right here in the foreground is the monument. It's a very special place. And a little bit controversial but it seems like they all are -- Candy.

CROWLEY: They all are. And Martin Luther King would not have been surprised by that, I don't think. Another first for Martin Luther King, the first non-war hero, the first non-president to have a memorial, and a huge memorial it is, built on the Washington Mall area.

Thank you so much. Our thanks to Joe Johns and Athena Jones. And thank you for watching our special coverage of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial dedication.

Up next, "FAREED ZAKARIA: GPS."