How you remember the historic March On Washington depends largely on how old you are and where you grew up. I was born and raised in Hampton, Virginia where my class was one of the first to attend integrated schools. I remember well the white and colored water fountains and sitting in the balcony in the Negro section at the local movie theater. I also remember seeing the news footage of over 250,000 people gathering together in Washington, DC to make their voices heard.
The words that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke that day 50 years ago are etched in America’s history. They were prophetic in many ways when you look back. Kids who have grown up living near, playing with and going to school with people of all races probably can’t even imagine the segregated world we lived in and the discrimination that spurred Dr. King to lead a movement that resulted in integrated schools and greater opportunities for all Americans.
Recently I was reminded by one of my Jewish friends about her people’s commitment to the movement and how much of what happened in the sixties, including the historic Freedom Fighters movement, was accomplished by a coalition of Blacks and Jews.
As I look back a lot has changed. Hey, we even have a Black president today. I could hardly have expected that back in 1963 when Dr. King spoke those historic words in our nation’s capital.
Still there is much work to be done when it comes to education, jobs and financial literacy. These are things that Dr. King was most focused on in the days before his untimely death.
Share his speech and his dream with all the young people who weren‘t even born then so that we never forget the sacrifices that have been made to bring Americans together. I still believe in his dream and in the power of the people of America to let Freedom ring.
Click here to see photos from the “Let Freedom Ring” ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, featuring speeches from President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Foxx and more.