Eric Holder | Martin Luther King, Jr. | News

Eric Holder: MLK's Dream Now Includes Latinos, Asian-Americans, Lesbians, Gays — VIDEO


Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the National Action to Realize the Dream March today on the National Mall as part of the 50th Anniversary of MLK's March on Washington, noting that King's legacy and vision have expanded to include many others, including gays and lesbians.

Said Holder, in part:

Fifty years ago, Dr. King shared his dream with the world and described his vision for a society that offered, and delivered, the promise of equal justice under law.  He assured his fellow citizens that this goal was within reach – so long as they kept faith with one another, and maintained the courage and commitment to work toward it.  And he urged them to do just that.  By calling for no more – and no less – than equal justice. By standing up for the civil rights to which everyone is entitled.  And by speaking out – in the face of hatred and violence, in defiance of those who sought to turn them back with fire hoses, bullets, and bombs – for the dignity of a promise kept; the honor of a right redeemed; and the pursuit of a sacred truth that’s been woven through our history since this country’s earliest days:  that all are created equal.

Those who marched on Washington in 1963 had taken a long and difficult road – from Montgomery, to Greensboro, to Birmingham; through Selma and Tuscaloosa.  They marched – in spite of animosity, oppression, and brutality – because they believed in the greatness of what this nation could become and despaired of the founding promises not kept.  Their focus, at that time, was the sacred and sadly unmet commitments of the American system as it applied to African Americans.  As we gather today, 50 years later, their march – now our march – goes on. 

And our focus has broadened to include the cause of women, of Latinos, of Asian Americans, of lesbians, of gays, of people with disabilities, and of countless others across this country who still yearn for equality, opportunity, and fair treatment.

Watch his speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Once again the Obama Administration shows us that it is the best friend LGBT people have ever had running the Executive Branch that governs this great nation.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 24, 2013 6:44:50 PM

  2. MLK's dream always included us.

    Posted by: JMC | Aug 24, 2013 6:57:03 PM

  3. May we never know the hatred and violence of fire hoses, bullets, and bombs. That is why the world must continue to speak out against the discriminatory laws in Russia, as well as every other country where LGBT people do not enjoy freedom.

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Aug 24, 2013 7:08:27 PM

  4. I agree with Andrew, except I'd amend it to say that the Obama Administration has been the only friend, not just best friend, LGBT people have ever had running the Executive Branch.

    Still, that doesn't excuse the war crimes, civil rights violations, and theft from the nation's children in the form of debt. I think MLK would be appalled.

    Posted by: Randy | Aug 24, 2013 7:12:44 PM

  5. MLK was in reality quite conservative, without a doubt he would have been homophobic, he was very anti-Catholic bigot; he was raised in an evangelical Baptist background and had very rigid ideas about who was a Christian and who wasn't, in fact he was originally against JFK because he was Catholic. I can only imagine what he thought of Jews in private.



    Women ARE NOT 'oppressed' or discriminated against, in fact they have laws that favor them [discriminate in their favor] over males. Women do EXTREMELY well in America as a demographic, are now the majority of college graduates, hold a disproportionate number of 'clean' white collar jobs [vs 'dirty' jobs], are well represented in every facet of society.

    What is a 'Latino'? How is a white 'Latino' any different from other white people of European descent? And how are 'Latinos' discriminated against in the U.S.? How? They are denied their basic civil rights? Absolutely not. In fact, Latinos as a demographic are coddled by politicians and businesses. As a group they, like women, actually have laws that discriminate in their favor, i.e. job and school benchmarks [quotas], tax credits for employers who hire them, etc., Hell, the U.S. allows TENS OF MILLIONS to enter and stay illegally, even gives them social services and is about to grant amnesty. Am I missing something? This doesn't sound like an 'oppressed' people, far from it.

    Black folks: Same as 'Latinos' and women. Black people are not only equal under the law, they're better than equal, and receive perks and privileges white people, even disadvantaged white people, don't.

    All this has been the case for over 40 years.

    Asians: I was unaware Asians were discriminated against in the U.S. As a group they seem to do extremely well for themselves. I work near MIT and they make up a gigantic percentage of the student body, far in excess of their percentage of the U.S. population.



    And Holder has done some awful and IMO illegal things while AG and should be prosecuted and get prison time when he leaves office.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 24, 2013 7:20:12 PM

  6. atty gen holder might want to check with dr. king's family - they disagree with his interpretation.

    while coretta scott king has advocated for glbt tolerance and equality, and has shown support for marriage equality, son mlk3, daughter bernice, and niece alveda have not been as kind.

    Posted by: northalabama | Aug 24, 2013 7:29:39 PM

  7. And of course, Coretta is the only other King whose name and words hold any credence. Martin would've undoubtedly reached the same conclusions as his wonderful wife.

    Posted by: JMC | Aug 24, 2013 7:37:52 PM

  8. Alveda King does not speak for Dr. MLK. She's a right winger and is often used as a pawn by those on the right such as Glenn Beck.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Aug 24, 2013 7:55:14 PM

  9. OMG RATBASTARD. You are so wrong regarding MLK.

    MLK marched with gays RIGHT NEXT TO HIM in his marches. A gay man was standing near him when he died.

    So no, you fail with more revisionist crap.

    And regarding HOLDER: No matter what your 'HO' is, you are wrong.

    Holder hasnt done anything illegal. Nothing.

    Turn of Glen Beck and Alex Jones, you moron.

    Posted by: dean | Aug 24, 2013 8:38:26 PM

  10. Ratbastard,

    One of the most famous lines from MLKs speech:

    "When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement 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 spiritual, 'Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.'"
    - Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have a Dream"

    He included Jews and Catholics in his "dream".

    Bayard Rustin, who was openly gay, organized the March on Washington. He was a trusted adviser to Dr. King.

    Stop being so cynical all the time dude.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Aug 24, 2013 8:46:15 PM

  11. It was his dream. And it was a dream.

    Posted by: JC | Aug 24, 2013 9:07:00 PM

  12. There is no evidence that MLK favored or opposed equality for LGBT people. That issue was not yet on the radar of most people. The moral Zeitgeist is a steadily shifting standard of what is morally acceptable. But, with temporary setbacks, over the centuries, the progressive trend is unmistakable. He was nudging the Zeitgeist forward to include equality for Black people. He died 45 years ago, so to expect him to have our more inclusive concept of social justice is unrealistic. However, given the facts that he was gradually expanding his call for justice to include ending the Vietnam war and including justice for the poor of all colors, I think that it is certain that he would be a leading voice for LGBT Equality today.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 24, 2013 9:31:01 PM

  13. yeah, that's great. now if holder could focus on the justice department's role in guidance on post-DOMA taxes, that'd be greeeaaat. cause us married folk are all getting older here and wanting our freakin' refunds.

    Posted by: gk | Aug 24, 2013 9:31:14 PM

  14. @Andrew: I'm sure that the rights of gay people were very much on MLK's radar.(It was on my radar when I was a little kid, but I already knew,as he clearly did, that society was only ready for baby steps and full equality for everyone was a far distant dream.)
    One of his closest friends and his most important mentor in his struggles was a gay man (along with other gay people who marched with him). There's no doubt they discussed these issues but knew that Bayard Rustin as well as gay issues themselves had to stay somewhat in the background as society moved ever so slowly forward.
    Every adult who lived and worked closely with MLK (including his chosen soul mate) who would definitely have talked to him about gay issues (and what could and could not be discussed rationally with the public) agreed/agrees that he did not want to exclude anyone from his dream and that gay people were as much a part of it as anyone.
    I find it ludicrous that right-wing groups trot out a daughter who was not yet in kindergarten when he died and a niece to speculate on these issues that he clearly never discussed with them.
    FWIW, his son Martin Luther King III, who disagrees with his cousin and sister (who seems like she may be changing her mind slowly, anyway) suggested just two days ago that a boycott of Sochi may be in order because of Russia's offensive treatment of gays.

    Posted by: GregV | Aug 25, 2013 1:06:26 AM

  15. MLK friend Bayard Rustin was gay, but the people around King were worried that King would lose political clout if this were wildly known, so Rustin was essentially written out of black civil rights history. The other problem was King's association with socialists, who were also whitewashed. MLK wasn't doing everything by himself, he had a lot of help from others, and they were in conflict over his tactics and legacy. You can't just associate civil rights with MLK.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 25, 2013 2:55:24 AM

  16. Wouldn't it be great if Obama pushed congress like lbj to make equality for gays no longer a dream, but a legal reality?

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Aug 25, 2013 3:02:35 AM

  17. @GREGV: MLK never wrote in books or articles in magazines or said anything in speeches or sermons that stated his belief in equality for LGBT people. The moral Zeitgeist favoring greater human equality had not yet moved to include LGBT people. The only indication we get about his view on homosexuality comes from a response he gave to a boy who had written MLK's advice column at Ebony magazine in 1958. The boy wrote that he was sexually attracted to boys and couldn't confide in anyone. King's response to the boy shows that he was not very well informed about the nature of homosexuality. He told the boy: "The type of feeling that you have toward boys is probably not an innate tendency, but something that has been culturally acquired". He goes on to tell the boy that it is good "you recognize the problem and have a desire to solve it". Not a very enlightened response. I am however confident that had he lived he would have evolved like almost all the leaders of civil rights and human rights groups to include LGBT people.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 25, 2013 4:22:14 AM

  18. King was not the same man in private that he was in his well written and edited public speeches. I'm not saying he was a bad man, he was a man with prejudices common in the time he was raised and lived, He was a flawed human being. Some people try to 'fix' historical figures legacies so they can fit nicely into our world.

    It was well known King had strong prejudice against Catholics and JFK because he was Catholic. This was very common in the environment and era he was raised in, in the deep south. He also held antisemitic views, again quite common, and although I doubt homosexuality was even openly discussed [it wasn't something on 99.9% of people's radar screen back then], because the idea that discussing whether homosexuality was bad or OK would have been ridiculous to them, they almost all thought gays were mentally ill. I also don't doubt King held similar views.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 25, 2013 8:31:26 AM

  19. @Dean,

    Holder and Obama aren't as bad [or worse] as the GW Bush administration in regards to civil liberties and wars, and other things? Really?

    Not to mention the huge scandal surrounding shipping firearms to the Mexican cartels, etc., This guy Holder has many scandals under his belt. He wouldn't be the first former AG to go to prison, there's been at least 3 in my lifetime.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 25, 2013 8:36:31 AM

  20. Everyone on this board should seek out the documentary "Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin". It's required viewing. A black gay civil rights leader who was the chief organizer of the March on Washington.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Aug 25, 2013 11:06:06 AM

  21. Ratbastard,

    you're turning back into "John In Boston" again--losing all sensible debating strategies or factual evidence. You have NO proof that Dr King was anti-Jewish or anti-Catholic. None.

    How would Dr King be anti-Jewish when a significant segment of America's Jewish community was pro-civil rights for decades?

    You prove what the you're saying.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 25, 2013 1:40:12 PM

  22. Jackie Kennedy called King a "phoney," so the gay dream is also phoney.

    Posted by: DVR | Aug 25, 2013 2:57:38 PM

  23. Thank you, Brian In Texas.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 25, 2013 3:05:30 PM

  24. It cracks me up when the same people who consider Pat Robertson the flaming moron that he is drool about Martin King.

    Posted by: Hagatha | Aug 25, 2013 9:02:10 PM

  25. I saw Congressman John Lewis on a CNN special about the 1963 March on Washington. He is the only one of the ten speakers at the March who is still alive. He is truly an inspirational man. He mentioned that JFK had invited all the leaders and speakers to come to the White House after the March. The photos showing JFK and MLK together on that momentous day were awesome to see.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 25, 2013 11:27:00 PM

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