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On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. In a CNN Exclusive, two men who were with King when he was killed, Reverend Jesse Jackson and former Ambassador Andrew Young, return to that balcony, the first time they have tighter since 1968,  to remember their friend 50 years later and to share little-known details of the moment King was killed.  Victor Blackwell reports.
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The statue of Martin Luther King Jr. is pictured at a memorial on August 24, 2103, in Washington, DC, as thousands of people gather to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The March on Washington. Tens of thousands gathered on August 24 to mark 50 years since the March on Washington, the civil rights watershed where Martin Luther King Jr famously declared: 'I have a dream.' The March on Washington is best remembered for King's stirring vision of a United States free of inequality and prejudice, telecast live to a nation undergoing a phenomenal  decade of soul-searching, crisis and change. AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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The statue of Martin Luther King Jr. is pictured at a memorial on August 24, 2103, in Washington, DC, as thousands of people gather to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The March on Washington. Tens of thousands gathered on August 24 to mark 50 years since the March on Washington, the civil rights watershed where Martin Luther King Jr famously declared: 'I have a dream.' The March on Washington is best remembered for King's stirring vision of a United States free of inequality and prejudice, telecast live to a nation undergoing a phenomenal decade of soul-searching, crisis and change. AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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(CNN) —  

As a crowd of nearly 250,000 people gathered outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke these historic words: “I have a dream.”

That was today in 1963. His pivotal speech not only helped bring the Civil Rights Movement even more to the forefront, it also pressured Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act, which they did the following year.

The March on Washington was a revolutionary event at the time. People came from all over the country to attend, with one boy – Robert Avery, who was just 15 years old – hitchhiking almost 700 miles from Alabama to reach Washington.

Celebrities, too, traveled to attend the march. Harry Belafonte, actor and singer, extensively advocated for the match, bringing other celebrities to the march and encouraging studio heads in Hollywood to allow other actors to attend.

Their presence not only led to increased media attention – it also helped ease some of then-President John F. Kennedy’s anxieties about the march turning violent.

Even now, half a century later, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the March on Washington continue to resonate, and the speech continues to represent a significant moment in history. A panel of scholars in 1999 ranked the best speeches of the 20th century, and they put King’s speech at No. 1 – ahead of Kennedy’s 1961 “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You” inaugural address.

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CNN’s Jim Polk and Alicia Stewart contributed to this report