Holder: I wouldn’t be AG without 1963 marchers

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Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledges applause before speaking at a rally to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder says the spirit of the 1963 March on Washington now demands equal rights for gays, Latinos, women and people with disabilities.

Speaking before tens of thousands of people on the National Mall, the nation’s first Black attorney general praised those who faced repression and brutality to march a half century ago. He thanked them for standing up to “racist governments and governors.”

Without them, he said, he’d never be the attorney general and Barack Obama would not be president.

“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,” Holder said.

The anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is Wednesday but anniversary events began Saturday morning. Organizers expected about 100,000 people.

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