8.22.2013

The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington-Segregation Then, Segregation Now, Segregation Forever

                          "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation
                                where they will not be judged by the color of their skin,
                             but by the content of their character." -
Martin Luther King

It's disconcerting to me to juxtapose the words of Martin Luther King with a paraphrase of the words uttered by segregationist George W. Wallace. But this is the way my mind works when thinking back over the 50 years since the first March on Washington led by Dr. King back in 1963 and the upcoming events to mark the occasion this weekend.

I was too young, being only 13 years old, to take part in the first march, but I watched the grainy black and white images of that massive crowd on the 6 o'clock news with the same intent that I watched the shows my parents allowed me to watch, back in the day, and time passed. Given the chance, I vowed to go and take part. Make my voice heard.

50 years. Just passed my 63rd birthday and I'm packing for DC. Going to the Anniversary March. Going to stand in front of the Lincoln Memorial with other like-minded people and remember the words of Dr. King. I am geeked about this trip because it's been a long time coming, but instead of total elation, my heart is heavy thinking about it.

I have a dream...”

I think many of us figured the dream would be halfway realized by now, 50 years after the fact. But all you gotta do is to look at the upcoming festivities to understand that Dr. King's ideas are still blowing in the wind.

There is the March on Saturday, August 24th I will call it The people's march. It is expected to be the biggest event since it's on Saturday and most people have the time, and don't have to work. It's a good day to teach history to the kids. The Park police are planning for about 150,000 people, about half of what originally turned out back in the day.

Dr. King actually delivered his speech on August 28th, so some other people and groups have organized a march on exactly the same day, complete with church bells ringing at 3pm and a speech from President Barack Obama, standing in for Dr. King. Obama's speech is supposed to be a grand thing, designed to move us forward as a nation toward the goals espoused by Dr. King back in the day. The main problem with the August 28th event is that it falls on a Wednesday, in the middle of the work week, not exactly designed to be people friendly, is it. I was initially confused by the two different dates with both events calling themselves the Anniversary of the March on Washington. And I'm sure that confusion still exists for others, as well.

Back on Saturday, the 24th, Black conservatives are going to hold their own thing, a breakfast, put together by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. It is a sit down affair, very dignified, designed to do....well I'm not sure what it is designed to do, since only politicians and their supporters have been invited to participate. People, Dr. King's people, need not apply, it seems.

Here is my problem...

Why three separate events when Dr. King was all about inclusion and equality? Why is Al Sharpton and his National Action Network, joined by the NAACP and a host of other groups marching on Saturday, totally ignoring the group putting together the march on Wednesday that features the first Black President of the United States?

And what better way for the GOP to convince some of us that they really are about inclusion then by taking part in either one of the other affairs?

Segregation then, segregation now, segregation forever, it seems...

Seems like anyone really wanting to honor Dr. King would have had one big people friendly affair in the spirit of the original march.

I have a dream....”

Congressman John Lewis who also addressed the crowd 50 years ago as president of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee said this about Dr. King;

"Dr. King had the power, the ability, and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a monumental area that will forever be recognized. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations."



I wish that the folks in charge could have understood this and planned their events with the people in mind rather than their own agenda at the fore front. It would have shown that the words spoken by Dr. King that day are honored in spirit, if not in daily practice.


why can't we all just get along?”


What Rodney King said. What Dr. King meant. What will need to happen if we are all to survive.


I have a dream...”


Me too...











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