President Barack Obama will speak Wednesday, standing on those same steps to address a crowd on the civil rights successes and struggles of the past half-century. But several activists, pundits and columnists are focused on what King would say in 2013.
"Today, at age 84, King would no doubt still be on the front lines, lending his voice and his energy to major battles for justice," Peter Dreier wrote in a piece in Sunday's Washington Post. Dreier is a professor of politics and an author on social justice. He says voting rights, gun reform, immigration and more would have been among King's priorities.
"Fifty years ago, King gave his most famous speech," Jenkins wrote. "But 45 years ago this summer, he was involved in a lesser-known episode, when he urged John Carlos and Tommie Smith to take the action that became their immortal black-gloved salute at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City."
According to Lewis, "If Dr. King could speak to us, he would say, 'We've come a distance. We've made a lot of progress. You're in the process of laying down the burden of race. But we're not there yet.'"
What would King say to the crowd today? Tell us in the comments!