WUFT News

March On Washington’s 50th Anniversary Celebrated In Downtown Gainesville

By and on August 29th, 2013

The Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida sponsored a commemorative event Wednesday night to honor the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

About 50 people gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens to both pay homage to the historic event and discuss its cultural relevance today.

“The March — 50 Years Later” was the theme of the commemoration, which reinforced the ideals of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a dream some believe has not yet come to fruition.

Social equality and justice were the clear focuses of the event, which featured remarks from Rep. Clovis Watson Jr. (D-District 20), Alachua County Commissioner Chuck Chestnut, Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy, Rev. Milford Griner, and former Alachua County commissioner Rodney J. Long.

Long’s keynote address cited specific economic and social issues African-Americans experience today such as violence within the African-American community, poverty, unemployment, and income disparity specifically between African-Americans and Caucasians.

Other pertinent issues today, Long said, include racial profiling, gun violence and “the unwarranted, un-proportioned (sic) arrests of people of color.”

He said these issues are actually quite similar to those in 1963 when King fought for equality through non-violent, direct action. But he said they are even worse today.

University of Florida student and President of UF Dream Defenders Nailah Summers spoke at the ceremony, enticing the crowd to chant along, “We have a duty to fight!”

Summers became a part of the Dream Defenders after Trayvon Martin was killed.

“There is not enough value on a black life in America, especially in the state of Florida,” she said. “Florida is a hub for Southern tradition and racial profiling.”

Griner said America has “given the Negro a bad check.” He said there is no better time than now to rise up for justice.

Long acknowledged the efforts of current organizations, and said they continue to fight “for jobs, freedom and equality for the Negro America.”

“The Dream Defenders are still out there marching for justice,” Long said, “the same things King once marched for.”

Retired elementary school teacher DeBorah McCray attended the event after being inspired by President Obama’s speech made earlier in the day in Washington, D.C. She said she hoped American youth are inspired to take action as well.

More than 250,000 people attended the 1963 march, then the largest demonstration to date in the nation’s capital. It was also one of the first to receive extensive national media coverage.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

A crowded audience of Island Field residents and trail supporters filled the Jack Durrance Auditorium at the Alachua County Administration building on Tuesday night. The County Commission voted on how to address complaints regarding use of the Barr Hammock trail.

County Commission Votes To Keep Barr Hammock Trail Open

The Alachua County Commission voted Tuesday to keep the Levy Loop Trail at the Barr Hammock Levy Prairie Preserve open year-round. Residents of Island Field, a neighborhood that borders the trail, raised concerns over noise and privacy earlier this year.


Pumpkins, whose native growing climate is in a cool and dry area, are displayed and sold at the Trinity United Methodist Church pumpkin patch. The patch, located at 4000 NW 53rd Ave., in Gainesville, is open until Oct. 30.

Imported Pumpkins Help Bring Fall Season To Florida

More than 40,000 pounds of the brightly-colored gourds arrived on a semi-truck Sept. 28 just in time for this year’s pumpkin patch. Before filling the small hay-covered courtyard at Gainesville’s Trinity United Methodist Church, the pumpkins travel 1,807 miles through [...]


Punk music festival Fest is now permitted to sell alcohol on Bo Diddley Plaza this weekend after the city of Gainesville broadened its alcohol ordinance. Fest will be held from Friday to Sunday.

Fest Expands Into Bo Diddley Plaza After Ordinance Changes

Punk music festival Fest will have bands perform for the first time at Bo Diddley Community Plaza Halloween weekend. The use of the venue comes with ordinance changes Fest organizers have been waiting three years for.


Martin Luther King III poses for photos with Eastside High School's Gospel Choir before addressing the crowd of voters at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. “My father used to say that a voteless people is a powerless people,” he said. “One of the most important steps we can take is the step to the ballot box.”

Residents Encouraged To Vote Early At ‘Empowerment Sunday’

Voters were encouraged to take full advantage of early voting on Sunday at Gainesville’s Empowerment Sunday organized by the African American Accountability Alliance of Alachua County. Martin Luther King III attended.


Teacher Conference Aims to Bring Global Perspective Into Classrooms

Gainesville Connected, a conference in Gainesville, aims to equip teachers to engage students on global issues such as poverty.


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