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Forty-three years after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed by an assassin’s bullets, the nation’s first black president today led an all-star tribute to the civil rights activist who “stirred our conscience” and made our Union “more perfect.” “I know we will overcome,” proclaimed President Obama at the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Monument. The giant granite statue stands just to the southeast of where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, notes the AP.

Obama left a copy of his inaugural speech to be placed in a time capsule at the monument. He was joined by King’s children, and luminaries ranging from Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder to Jesse Jackson. “He was my baby brother,” King’s older sister Dr Christine King Farris told the crowd. “During my life, I watched a baby become a great hero.” With 10,000 chairs set up, the crowd was standing room only, notes the Washington Post. “I sometimes see a sense of entitlement among young people,” said a high school teacher who came. “I want to let them know that a lot of the things they are able to do today is because of him and his contributions.”

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