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Marching Forth--Again

Updated on August 25, 2013

The Dream Re-Awakened?

Yesterday, August 24 2013, people gathered in Washington D.C to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the "March on Washington". The event, made famous by Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream Speech", may have helped advance the Civil Rights Act and later the Voting Rights Act. It also showed the ability of the Civil RIghts Movement to organize and mobilize.

For those that gathered to remember, many who were at the 1963 march, they might be asking, "How far have we come?" Poverty and economic injustice still plague African-American's, and the urban areas that many find themselves in. The "Poll tax" and "Literacy Tests" that were used to disenfranchise them have been replaced by "Voter ID" laws. The sheriff and the lynch mob have been replaced by "Stop and Frisk" and "Stand your Ground" laws. Many of these laws are coming from the linear or ideological heirs of people like George Wallace and Strom Thrumond. Folks like Joe Arpaio and Lou Barletta may have simply found a new "brown menace" to use as a scapegoat.

But I also see hope, the tactics used by the folks who gathered in August of 1963 have been re-discovered and re-applied in places like Wisconsin, Texas and North Carolina. Perhaps what needs to be done is that the struggles of workers, women, Hispanics, African-Americans, LGBT, etc need to be combined into one, broad, movement. Much like the "Freedom Summer" in which young people risked and even gave their lives, a "Justice Summer" could be staged in 2014. Registering and organizing those who stand to lose the most from Republican and "Tea Party" gains around strong, progressive candidates. A re-awakened "Occupy" movement could play a role, those that have not abandoned the system completely.

America has come a long way in 1963, there are efforts to roll some of those gains back, and America still has a long way to go to realize Dr. King's dream. But America is also a nation that has proven what it's people can do!


© 2013 TeaPartyCrasher

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    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites.

      I was a freedom school volunteer teacher in MS during Mississippi Freedom Summer 1964, so I read your suggestion with much interest. The Mississippi Summer Project was conceived by Bob Moses and other field secretaries (full-time organizers) of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and run by the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a coalition of SNCC (which organized the project in most of the congressional districts), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) (which organized it in one congressional district), Mississippi NAACP (whose local chapters helped bring together the organizers with local black communities), and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC -- King's organization) (which helped in court). More or less a thousand mostly white middle and upper class college students and graduates from around the country joined the Project as volunteer voter registration workers and freedom school teachers. The goal of the Project was strategically focused on registering blacks to vote (hopeless then to any significant degree because of Jim Crow) and on organizing the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party as the real Democratic Party in the state (which was achieved up to electing delegates to the Democratic Party national convention, where they got shafted). The families, relations, and friends of the volunteers organized support and petitioned Washington for a voting rights act, which was passed within a year or so.

      Essential reading: Mississippi The Closed Society by James W. Silver, Freedom Summer by Sally Belfrage, and Freedom Summer by Doug McAdam, for starters.

      What you are proposing is much bigger -- a nationwide mass movement for progressive reform, focused in 2014 on electing progressive candidates at all levels of government, pushed by the voters to do what specifically once elected? Now is the time to argue constructively about that strategic question.

    • Irish Shrew profile image

      Ro 

      5 years ago from Midwest

      What a eloquent ,simply put-hub. And one that I agree with. You see I was around in the 60's, albeit a little kid but still I remember my mother crying about a 'king' dying. I thought it was the singer, Nat King Cole. I was very young! But I grew up in a household that was truly color blind. My parents had parents that worked in the stock yard of Chicago in the early 1900's as Irish immigrants. They suffered discrimination, had the lowest forms of employment and living arrangements, and were labelled as 'lazy, dumb and alcoholics' . My father did not condone racism of any kind. His family lived it. You are correct at proclaiming the avenue of attack is political. For those in power yield the mightier sword. We all need to unite and realize our power. There are many white people that have always followed and actually lived by the word of Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and Abraham Lincoln. We don't get a great rep due to the fools that don't understand God made us all. I hope some day we will all understand our strength. We need to change Washington. Look at the obstruction the President is experiencing. We need to unite and take a stand. He can't do it without us!

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