Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Civil rights movement far from over
Fifty years ago today, the Rev Martin Luther King Jr led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and for equality of treatment for African-Americans. The organisers were hoping for 100,000; one estimate put the size of the march to the Lincoln Memorial at 220,000 to 250,000. They came to tell the world that the famed democracy of America discriminated against people of colour and brutalised them into submission long after Jim Crow laws had been suppressed and slavery abolished.
“I gave blood on the bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the right to vote,” said Georgia Rep John Lewis this past week, he being the only one of the speakers on that day 50 years ago to have survived. Apart from the size and intent of the march, it was the occasion when Dr Martin Luther King Jr made an impact on the world.
Last week, I viewed the 50-year old video, hearing for the first time celebrated gospel singer Mahalia Jackson rising from her seat on the side of the stage and saying in her distinctive and commanding voice: “Tell them of your dream, Martin...” The speech has been recognised as the most compelling and influential in the history of America, says Dr King’s colleague Andrew Young.
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