Fifty Years Ago Today

Ebony Cover
Cover of Ebony Magazine, November 1963.

In the November 1963 issue of Ebony magazine, Lerone Bennett, Jr. wrote of the march, “It was the beginning of something, and the ending of something. It came 100 years and 240 days after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. It came like a force of nature. Like a whirlwind, like a storm, like a flood, it overwhelmed and stunned by its massiveness and finality. A quarter million people were in it, and of it: and millions more watched on TV and huddled around radios. There had never been anything like it.”

Marchers sitting under elms
“Sitting under spreading elms, marchers open bags and boxes and lunch while listening to speakers and singers” (Ebony).

“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look at thousands of working people displaced from their jobs with reduced incomes as a result of automation while the profits of the employers remain intact, and say: ‘This is not just’ (Martin Luther King Jr.,1967).

Jobs For All
Jobs For All Now! (Ebony).

“Power and pressure are at the foundation of the march of social justice and reform […] power and pressure do not reside in the few, and intelligentsia, they lie in and flow from the masses. Power does not even rest with the masses as such. Power is the active principle of only the organized masses, the masses united for a definite purpose” (A. Philip Randolph, 1941).

Marchers in overalls
Men in overalls, a status symbol among the marchers indicating participation in sit-ins (Ebony).

“You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you’re messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry […] Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is  wrong […] with capitalism […] There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe American must move toward a democratic socialism” (Martin Luther King, Jr., 1966).

A demonstrator in a wheelchair
A wheelchair-bound demonstrator (Ebony).

“The reconstruction of the Negro must involve the introduction of the new social order–a democratic order in which human rights are recognized above property rights” (A. Philip Randolph, 1919).

A. Philip Randolph, Godfather of the Civil Rights Movement, Marches (Ebony).
A. Philip Randolph, Godfather of the Civil Rights Movement, Marches (Ebony).

“At the end of that historic day, after he had introduced King and cheered the younger man’s announcement that ‘we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt,’ Randolph sent the marchers home–but first, all those present pledged in thunderous unison to give ‘my heart, and my mind, and my body, unequivocally and without regard to personal sacrifice, to the achievement of social peace through social justice'” (John Nichols, 2011). VFP

Martin Luther King
“The hero of the day” (Ebony)

One thought on “Fifty Years Ago Today

  1. Thanks!

    Loretta J. Brown 708-865-8028 People are made to be Loved and Things are made to be Used. There is so much confusion in this World because People are being Used and Things are being Loved.

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