The March On Washington happened 60 years ago today. It was a call for a just America, like the one Langston Hughes poetically envisioned for Black people long oppressed by racism and terrorism under the American system of white supremacy law and governance. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his powerful I Have A Dream speech that fateful day. Its powerful message of hope for mankind is still a transcending tenor for future generations and a better humanity to come. As we reflect on the 60 year anniversary of the March on Washington, contrasting the issues of that time and today, it is crucial We, The People apply a critical and objective eye at the pace and sincerity of pragmatic change.
We can never forget how Dr. King delivered that powerful oration on this day 60 years ago. And sadly, and as hate would have it, we can also never forget that his iconic I Have A Dream speech didn’t prevent the killing of four girls in the racial bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, just a few weeks after the March on Washington. And 60 years later, despite the blood, sweat and tears, Black folks are still being terrorized by white supremacist, as the nation marks another mass shooting of Black people at a store in Florida two days ago.
60 years later, the time is ripe to ask our leaders where they are leading us.
Editor’s Note: From the archives of the Library of Congress.
The March on Washington
For many Americans, the calls for racial equality and a more just society emanating from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, deeply affected their views of racial segregation and intolerance in the nation. Since the occasion of March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 50 years ago, much has been written and discussed about the moment, its impact on society, politics and culture and particularly the profound effects of Martin Luther King’s iconic speech on the hearts and minds of America and the world. Several interviewees from the Civil Rights History Project discuss their memories of this momentous event in American history.
Click HERE to read more about the Library of Congress Civil Rights History Project.