March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: 50 years on…

by kathleenljackson


This year is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (August 28, 1963). There seems to be a flood of information about the event, its legacy (especially King’s speech) and a wide array of commemorative publications (e.g. Time magazine) and events (Washington DC – wow). Last weekend I attended a forum hosted by the JFK library and I will be attending the commemorative march this weekend (August 24, 2013) with the NAACP. So I’m going to hold off on my own commentary until after the March.

But I will say this; this month has allowed for deep reflection on how far we have come, or rather how little. The entire march has become about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Dream – which is an incredible piece of rhetoric (however, at times, misinterpreted), instead of the nature and demands of that march, instead of the other speeches presented that day. I think it would be better to look to the organizer A. Philip Randolph to interpret this historically significant event, and our failure to take up the challenge. 

But this civil rights revolution is not confined to the Negro, nor is it confined to civil rights for our white allies know that they cannot be free while we are not.

The March on Washington is not the climax of our struggle, but a new beginning not only for the Negro but for all Americans who thirst for freedom and a better life.

Read A. Philip Randolph’s entire address at the March on Washington here. Or, listen here

Watch the forum about the 50th Anniversary (which I highly recommend, it only for Elaine Jones’ powerful statements) here.