March on Washington – 57 Years Later
On this day in history, August 28, 1963, 200,000 people participated in the Freedom Now civil rights rally in Washington, D.C.
It was on this day that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
Today another march and another rally. Not for jobs, housing or equal opportunity in desegregated schools but for racial justice and police reform. Not Martin Luther King Jr (MLK) at the microphone but his son, Martin Luther King the third.
The Commitment March -"Get Your Knee off Our Necks" was expected to draw tens of thousands of protesters.
News 4 Washington, D.C., reported on the urgency of the moment. "We're not here to ask for justice," said Tylik McMillan of Al Sharpton's National Action Network (NAN), "We're not here to negotiate justice. But we are here to demand justice....We find ourselves in the spirit of John Lewis, making good trouble, necessary trouble, because the soul of our democracy is depending on it."
Much progress has been accomplished since 1963...like achieving a national mindset that provided for 8 years of Barrack Obama in the White House. Here's to more progress in the days to come, but progress born of truth, patience, honesty and common sense. Not what we see on the streets today.
Think of the contrast in the behavior of the times. MLK's non-violent peaceful approach versus the mobs, riots, looting and violence of today.
Ossie Davis was a host that day in August of '63. Some will recall Davis as an American film, television and Broadway actor and director as well as a poet, playwright, author, and civil rights activist.
Recall the words he used to welcome the crowd making its way to the Lincoln Memorial. "I would first like to congratulate all of you on the orderly, dignified manner in which you executed the march from the Washington Memorial. You have already told the world what we are here for and shown them by your courage, determination and your order, that we mean business"
What message is being sent to the world by today's protesters?
You can march on Washington by the thousands, you can even have the son of Dr. Martin Luther King give a speech, but in the end, if you give an open mic to the divisiveness of Al Sharpton, if you look the other way instead of doing all you can to stop the riots and destruction and if you don't push for better responsibility and more personal accountability when interacting with police, we won't make the next level of progress the nation deserves.