Today, Florida’s poverty rate is just over 17 percent and the city of Miami’s hit 29.5 percent in the most recent Census data. At the end of the 1960s, poverty levels in the South hovered around 18 percent of the population.
It was during that time when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spent much of his energy organizing what he called the "Poor People's Campaign." It worked to achieve economic justice and equality for poor people -- a disproportionate number of whom were black.
For the hundreds of thousands of people who participated in the 1963 March on Washington, many can recount the moving moments of that day.
But for a particular group of four ladies, the impact of the event is still profoundly felt decades later. All were young teens at the time of Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, but didn’t attend the march.
President Obama will stand in the symbolic shadows of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln Wednesday, as he marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Aides say Obama will use the opportunity to celebrate the progress that's been made, thanks to the civil rights movement. He'll also discuss the work that he says still has to be done to realize King's dream of racial justice in America.
That includes fighting to protect voting rights and building what the president calls "ladders of opportunity" for poor people of all races.
Editor's Note: Below are Americans with South Florida connections who went to hear the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his famous "I Have A Dream" speech in Washington, D.C., one of the most significant civil rights events in history. Their bios are compiled from public and private sources. Listen to what they have to say.