New Generation Commits to King's Dream

Thousands mark 60th anniversary of March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2023 5:20 PM CDT
New Generation Commits to King's Dream
People march to mark the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Thousands of people on Saturday retraced the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, declaring his dream unrealized 60 years later and calling out new threats it faces. Speakers detailed the national changes since as many as 250,000 gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 heard King deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech, the Hill reports. Alphonso David, head of the Global Black Economic Forum, acknowledged the progress but said: "Have we reached the mountaintop? Not by a long shot."

Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries was loudly cheered when he talked about unfinished work, per the Washington Post, listing voting rights, reproductive rights, workers rights, and rights for LGBTQ+ people, for starters. Jeffries attacked Republican efforts against teaching Black history. "America is at a crossroads, an existential struggle between enlightened people and extreme people," the House minority leader said. One participant saw progress in the march itself. "I was 8 years old at the original march and only one woman was allowed to speak," said Pamela Mays McDonald of Philadelphia, per the AP, adding, "now look at how many women are on the podium today."

Avril Trancoso, who traveled from Brooklyn, said she's always tried to prepare her three children and nine grandchildren for a better world. "We still have a long way to go," Trancoso said, adding: "Some people take things too lackadaisically. But I think the younger generation is waking up." One of the speakers was 15-year-old Yolanda Renee King, the only granddaughter of Martin Luther King. "If I could speak to my grandfather today, I would say I am sorry we still have to be here to rededicate ourselves to finishing your work and ultimately realizing your hidden dream," she told the assembly. (More March on Washington stories.)

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