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Fiftieth Anniversary of March on Washington more diverse

Freddie Allen | 8/29/2013, 2:37 p.m.
The 50th Anniversary for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom celebrated a more diverse coalition and needs, but ...
From left: Sabrina Fulton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., National Urban League President Marc Morial, Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, his wife Arndrea and daughter Yolanda, Washington City Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Rev. Jesse Jackson (behind MLK III) start the Anniversary March on Washington at Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington at the memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. presented his I Have a Dream speech during the March on Washington. Jose Luis Magana

“This world continues to be cruel and there are a lot of false perceptions about what it is and what it isn’t,” Jones said.

Garon Jr. said that it was great to be a part of something that only comes around every 50 years, and plans to remain active in the Civil Rights Movement in his own community.

“I want to make sure that no one is racially profiled by the color of their skin and that they are judged by the content of their character,” Garon Jr. said.

Mtangulizi Sanyika, former professor of African World Studies at Dillard University in New Orleans, attended the 1963 march and noted the differences between that march and the 2013 march.

“There was an intensity in the air,” said Sanyika of the 1963 march. “There was a deep concern about the role of the federal government and the Kennedy administration there was a concern about the movement and whether the movement was going to be crushed or not. There was tension about John Lewis’ speech and there was an over-coalition of religious organizations and labor in the planning, designing and delivery of that march.”

She said that this year’s march addressed a wider range of issues from racism to anti-war issues to immigration reform, over incarceration issues, and protection of children’s rights issues and women’s rights issues.

“That is the brilliance of this march,” Sanyika said. “It’s a mass tent. It’s a mass process. You have a wide variety of issues on the table. It’s fundamentally good that something like this happened, because it shows the energy for mass movement for progressive democracy in this country.

“It demonstrates that this movement is still alive. We have a set of issues beyond what we had in 1963, which was civil rights legislation and jobs. Here you see the full maturation of mass-based Black politics. I think this march was of extraordinary significance for those reasons.”