On the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, an estimated 250,000 people came from all across the country to the National Mall, to hear speakers and performers make an impassioned call to America’s conscience. It is remembered as a watershed moment in the Civil Rights movement, creating momemtum that would eventually push the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act through a stubborn racist roadblock in Congress and into law, changing the dynamics of American politics for the next 50 years. The modern conservative movement was born in the backlash against civil rights, and continues to play to racism even today.
The high point, as history has written it, was the “I Have a Dream” speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As the story has it, King was winding up his prepared remarks when gospel singer Marian Anderson, sitting nearby, leaned over and said, “Tell `em about the dream, Martin.” King then launched into the bold, lyrical, extemporaneous finale that has become one of the most famous pieces of public address in history.
But the March was not just about rights for African-Americans. Organized by A. Philip Randolph A great American, the founder and president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the March was about economic as well as political and social freedom.
Ron Brownstein, of the National Journal, wrote a column last week reminding us of this legacy – Brownstein – King\'s Echo