Lowery tells March on Washington crowd: “We ain’t going back”

Rev. Joseph Lowery speaks during a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom , August 28, 2013 in Washington. It was 50 years ago today that Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his 'I Have A Dream Speech' on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Rev. Joseph Lowery speaks during a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom , August 28, 2013 in Washington. It was 50 years ago today that Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his 'I Have A Dream Speech' on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Atlanta civil rights pioneer Rev. Joseph Lowery told rally goers at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington that restrictive voting laws threaten a half century of civil rights progress.

Many leaders have said voting rights are giving new energy to the civil rights movement since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the requirement that many states – including Georgia – receive federal pre-approval for voting law changes.

States such as Texas have followed the ruling by enforcing more restrictive voter laws, which foes say unfairly target minorities. The Obama administration has sued Texas under remaining Voting Rights Act tools.

“We come today, 50 years later, it’s even stranger that there are men and forces who still seek to restrict our vote and deny our full participation,” Lowery said. “Well, we come here to Washington to say: We ain’t going back. We ain’t going back. We’ve come too far, marched too long, prayed too hard, wept too bitterly, bled too profusely and died too young to let anybody turn back the clock on our journey to justice.”

Lowery charged up his speech at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington with high praise for one of the speakers who will follow this afternoon: President Barack Obama.

Lowery, who helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, goosed the crowd with Obama’s “Fired up, ready to go” chant.