August 27, 2013
My March on Washington: What I Saw and What Still Hasn’t Been Achieved

A half-century ago this week, on August 28, 1963, five days after my 17th birthday, my parents dropped me off at the South Norwalk station of what was then the New York, New Haven, & Hartford Railroad to board a special train headed for Washington and history — not that we had a clue about the historic nature of that summer day.
That was the summer when the reality of race in America came home with a vengeance to any conscious white person with conscience who glanced at a newspaper or watched the 15-minute network nightly news shows. No longer could we ignore the ugly reality: that America south of northern Delaware had a system of apartheid every bit as real, oppressive, and legal as that in South Africa — and that things were only marginally better in the rest of the country. It was the summer of Birmingham, Bull Connor, teenagers rolled across Kelly Ingram Park and across sidewalks by jets of water from fire hoses, and the gnashing teeth of lunging police dogs. It was the summer that NAACP Mississippi Field Secretary Medgar Evers was assassinated in his own driveway. It was the summer that would end with the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church and the murder of four black school girls preparing for the Sunday service. In the midst of all that, on August 28, came the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, best remembered for the speech that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Read more. [Image: B.D. Colen]

My March on Washington: What I Saw and What Still Hasn’t Been Achieved

A half-century ago this week, on August 28, 1963, five days after my 17th birthday, my parents dropped me off at the South Norwalk station of what was then the New York, New Haven, & Hartford Railroad to board a special train headed for Washington and history — not that we had a clue about the historic nature of that summer day.

That was the summer when the reality of race in America came home with a vengeance to any conscious white person with conscience who glanced at a newspaper or watched the 15-minute network nightly news shows. No longer could we ignore the ugly reality: that America south of northern Delaware had a system of apartheid every bit as real, oppressive, and legal as that in South Africa — and that things were only marginally better in the rest of the country. It was the summer of Birmingham, Bull Connor, teenagers rolled across Kelly Ingram Park and across sidewalks by jets of water from fire hoses, and the gnashing teeth of lunging police dogs. It was the summer that NAACP Mississippi Field Secretary Medgar Evers was assassinated in his own driveway. It was the summer that would end with the bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church and the murder of four black school girls preparing for the Sunday service. In the midst of all that, on August 28, came the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, best remembered for the speech that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Read more. [Image: B.D. Colen]

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