By Judy Kurtz - 08/28/13 06:44 PM EDT
Oprah Winfrey says half a century after begging her mother to go to the March on Washington, she finally made it there for its 50th anniversary celebration.
The talk show queen was one of several high-profile celebrities — along with Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker — to address a packed crowd on the National Mall on Wednesday.
“It took me 50 years, but I’m here,” she said to cheers from a rain-soaked audience.
Singer and “Ray” actor Jamie Foxx said he was forgoing reading from a teleprompter during his two-minute speech to instead “speak from the heart.”
The Academy Award winner, 45, recounted a dinner he had with his 19-year-old daughter and Harry Belafonte. Foxx said the singer and activist told him that at 19-years-old, “I was coming home from World War II and when I got back to America, I wasn’t allowed to vote.”
Foxx urged the “young folks" to “pick it up now so that when we’re 87 years old talking to the other young folks, we can say it was me, Will Smith, Jay-Z, Kanye [West], Alicia Keys, Kerry Washington, the list goes on and on.”
Forest Whitaker, who portrays a real longtime White House worker in the movie “The Butler,” echoed President Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan during one line in his remarks, saying, “Let’s create meaningful change, change that we can all believe in and share in.”
Whitaker, 52, encouraged those listening to “be the generation to make a true difference in the world.”