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updated: 8/28/2013 9:18 AM

King bemoans 'staggering' joblessness among blacks

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  • Rev. Al Sharpton, left, and Martin Luther King III stand together during an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in Washington. The eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. says blacks can rightfully celebrate his father's life and work with pride, but much more must be accomplished.

      Rev. Al Sharpton, left, and Martin Luther King III stand together during an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in Washington. The eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. says blacks can rightfully celebrate his father's life and work with pride, but much more must be accomplished.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. says blacks can rightfully celebrate his father's life and work with pride, but much more must be accomplished.

Martin Luther King III, preparing to join ceremonies Wednesday commemorating the 50th anniversary of his father's "I Have a Dream" speech, says the country should confront "staggering unemployment" among black males 18 to 30 years old.

He called Barack Obama's election as the first African-American president a major breakthrough for America. But King also told NBC's "Today" show in an interview that he believes young blacks today still "are first judged by their color and then the content of their character."

King said his father deftly used the lofty words of the Founding Fathers "to inspire, lift up and bring hope."

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