Oprah Winfrey: MLK forced us to wake up, change

Oprah Winfreysays Martin Luther King Jr.forced the nation "to wake up, look at itself and eventually change." She says the civil rights leader's lessons inspire people all over the world.

Speaking at the March on Washington ceremonies Wednesday, Winfrey said King recognized that Americans shared the same dreams and that their hopes weren't different based on race. She says King was right when he said all Americans' destinies are intertwined and would rise or fall based on how people treat their neighbors.

Winfrey says she asked her mother as a 9-year-old girl why her family wasn't there for the march. The media mogul says it took her 50 years, but she finally arrived on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to mark the anniversary of King's march and his "I Have a Dream" speech.

Actors Forest Whitaker and Jamie Foxx delivered speeches at the event as well. Winfrey and Whitaker recently starred together in "Lee Daniels' 'The Butler,"about an African American who works at the White House for decades.

Three U.S. presidents -- Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama -- also spoke about King's prolific impact during the March on Washington ceremonies.