Nation & World News

Thousands Gather In D.C. To Mark 1963 Civil Rights March

By Scott Neuman on August 24th, 2013

(This post last updated at 2:20 p.m. ET)

Tens of thousands of people assembled on the National Mall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington, best known as the venue for the iconic “I Have a Dream” speech that helped galvanize the civil rights movement.

Organizers, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and King’s son, Martin Luther King III, had hoped to attract 100,000 people to attend Saturday’s events leading up the official Aug. 28 anniversary.

“This is not the time for nostalgic commemoration,” said the slain civil right’s leader’s oldest son. “Nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration. The task is not done. The journey is not complete. We can and we must do more.”

Attorney General Eric Holder told the crowd that King’s words helped alter the course of history.

“He assured his fellow citizens that this goal was within reach – so long as they kept faith with one another, and maintained the courage and commitment to work toward it,” Holder said. “And he urged them to do just that. By calling for no more – and no less – than equal justice.”

Holder said neither he nor President Obama would be in office without those who took part in 1963.

“They marched in spite of animosity, oppression and brutality because they believed in the greatness of what this nation could become and despaired of the founding promises not kept,” Holder said.

The speeches are to be followed by a half-mile walk from the Lincoln Memorial to the 2-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

NPR’s Allison Keyes, speaking with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon, says some people who showed up for the march who are in their 20s and 30s “want to be part of history. They weren’t born yet in 1963 when their parents marched,” others, she said, are concerned about what they see as a “consistent turning back the clock on progress.”

“They’re talking about the Supreme Court decision that just struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, they are talking about Stand Your Ground laws, Stop-and-Frisk in New York City, there are a lot of people that say the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case has been a thing that upset them,” Keyes says.

David Cakely from Goose Creek, S.C., tells NPR that he’s a little sad that some of the same issues talked about at the time of the original march five decades ago have yet to be resolved.

“I was kind of disappointed on that,” Cakely says. “I thought by this time we would have had all this taken care of – everybody moving together, Kumbaya, but that’s not the case right now, so we’re … here today to show America that we’re concerned.”

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Supreme Court Clears Way For Same-Sex Marriages In Florida

The Supreme Court declined to extend a stay on a ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, who said in August that Florida’s 2008 ban is unconstitutional. The stay expires in January.


CEO Says Sony Pictures ‘Did Not Capitulate,’ Is Exploring Options

Melissa Block talks to Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton about the cyber attack against his company and the cancellation of the Christmas Day release of The Interview.


Actor James Franco (left), seen here with The Interview co-star Seth Rogen, was called "James Flacco" by President Obama Friday. Afterward, the jokes poured in.

Obama Says ‘James Flacco.’ The Internet Says, Thank You

It was an honest mistake. But when President Obama said “James Flacco” when referring to James Franco — on a Friday before the holidays, no less — the slip was eagerly received online.


Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont., in September. New EPA guidelines treat toxic coal ash from such plants much the same as common household garbage.

New EPA Standards Label Toxic Coal Ash Non-Hazardous

Environmental groups had sought to have coal ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants, regulated as hazardous waste.


"I didn't want to fire things up," St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch says of his silence since announcing the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

St. Louis Grand Jury Heard Witnesses Who Lied, Prosecutor Says

Weeks after he announced a grand jury’s decision not to indict a Ferguson, Mo., police officer in Michael Brown’s death, prosecutor Robert McCulloch explains some of his own decisions in the case.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments