This week’s WWW is devoted to the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.
Some people confuse this day with it just being about Martin Luther king’s I have A Dream Speech, which he delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He spoke about equal rights, equal jobs and freedom. There is no question that speech brought the crowd of more than 250,000people whites and blacks cheering and inspired millions across the world. He spoke advocating for basic human-rights that would later be enshrined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But this day is about so much more than about one single speech.
The 1963 March on Washington wasn’t seen as a masterpiece of nonviolent protest. Although it was something that was never seen before in the history of this country and every other march since has copied its model. First and for most, it was a protest against a government who sanctioned injustice of a large part of its populace and maintain that ruled with a strong hand.
The March came about because of the millions of nameless volunteers who sacrificed, struggled and even die to make it happen. A combination of male and female activists alike who campaigned for civil rights; women typically didn't receive credit for their contributions, organized the march at the grass root levels. The young people who did the majority of the footwork. They all risked prison and beatings to come cross country to participate in this open demonstration.
They hoped their demonstration would spark a change in the unfair laws against racial, ethnic and religious minorities and women, and banned discriminatory voting-registration practices, even though the speaker’s messages focused mainly on racism, poverty, and war.
Now 50 years later we are still dealing with the evils of that day. Those that marched then had no idea their actions would become an historic moment of change. If we are honest, we know there is a need for change today. Rosa Park said, “I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
Those at the March in 1963 feared, but overcame their fears to do what was needed to be done. Although the U.S. Supreme Court decision to invalidate a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act the earlier part of the summer was a setback, we faceless millions will remain vigilant and carry the banner of change forward.
I don’t want to wonder, fifty years from now, if my grandchildren are still dealing with injustice in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Copyright © 2013 Glynis Rankin