The NAACP and Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network co-hosted a March on Washington on August 24, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the march led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The event, which paid tribute to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the struggle for equal rights, was headlined by speeches from various minority leaders at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The crowd at the event stretched from the Lincoln Memorial to the length of the reflecting pool, much like it had a half-century ago. Speakers emphasized that the struggle is not over.
“This is not the time for a nostalgic commemoration, nor is this the time for self-congratulatory celebration, the task is not done, the journey is not complete, we can and we must do more,” said Martin Luther King III, an activist and the eldest of Dr. King’s children. “Sadly the tears of Trayvon Martin’s mother and father remind us that far too frequently, the color of one’s skin remains a license to profile, to arrest and to even murder with no regard for the content of one’s character.”
Archie Spigner, who was the councilmember of District 27 in Queens until 2001, said the event reflects that we still have to fight for an equal world.
As a labor activist 50 years ago, Spigner attended the original March on Washington, but couldn’t make the march this year.
“I think that Martin Luther King (Jr.) was a gifted orator,” Spigner said. “It was a masterful speech. That’s why that speech still holds to day.”
The speeches were made on Saturday, but the true anniversary is on Wednesday, August 28. There will be another March on Washington then as well, highlighted by a speech by President Barack Obama.