President Obama is scheduled to speak at 2:45 PM ET today from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in the National Mall to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. You can watch it live in the video feed above, follow updates throughout his speech, and join in the conversation below the fold.
11:52 AM PT: Christine King Farris, Dr. King's sister, is speaking now. Bernice King, his daughter, is scheduled to speak next, followed by the president.
11:51 AM PT: President Clinton had a pretty good line earlier: "A great democracy doesn't make it harder to vote than buy an assault weapon."
11:55 AM PT: Bernice King calls attention to one important sign of progress: That now, 50 years later, women are playing a big leadership role in organizing the anniversary of the March—unlike 1963.
12:07 PM PT: Bernice King has concluded her comments. President Obama will be speaking after a music performance.
12:11 PM PT: President Obama has taken the podium.
12:16 PM PT: "On a hot summer day, they assembled here, in our nation's capitol, under the shadow of The Great Emancipator, to offer testimony of injustice ... to awaken America's slumbering conscience." King's "words belong to the ages, possessing a power and prophecy unmatched in our time. But we would do well to remember that that day also belongs to the ordinary people whose names never get into the history books."
12:17 PM PT: "They lived in towns where they couldn't vote, and in cities where their votes didn't matter. There were couples who couldn't marry. ... They had seen loved ones beaten and children firehosed. And they had every reason to be angry, or reason themselves to a bitter fate. And yet, they chose a different path. In the face of hatred they prayed for their tormenters."
12:18 PM PT: "A lifetime of indignities taught them that no man can take away the dignity and grace that God grants us."
12:19 PM PT: "Because they marched a civil rights law was passed. Because they marched, a voting rights act was signed."
12:15 PM PT: "Because they marched city councils changed, and state legislatures changed, and Congress changed, and yes, eventually the White House changed. Because they marched America became more free and fair." Not just for African Americans, President Obama says, but also Latinos and Asians and Jews and GLBT Americans—for all Americans.
12:23 PM PT: "The arc of the universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn't bend on it's own."
12:28 PM PT: "There are success in Black America that would have been unimaginable 50 years ago ... but the gap in wealth between the races has grown."
12:28 PM PT: "Even as corporate profits soar ... upward mobility has become harder."12:32 PM PT: But hey, at least his communications team managed to put up a blog post.
12:34 PM PT: And President Obama has concluded his remarks marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.