Saturday, August 24, 2013

March on Washington 50th anniversary sneak preview on DC Mall today



I did visit the commemorative celebration today on the Mall in Washington DC.  Actually, the March for Jobs and Freedom took place on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 1963, and the exact anniversary will be observed next Wednesday (the 50th anniversay happens to fall on the right day of the week).
   
Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is technically copyrighted but is widely available, such as here at ABC News,link.  The Library of Congress says it is technically "unpublished" but the National Archives has a direct copy of the PDF (4 MB) here
  

I remember that week.  I think I did not go to work (at the National Bureau of Standards, then on Van Ness St.) that day.  The mood was not good.  My parents looked upon what with going on with some suspicion.  It sounded like a time of sacrifice.  The “new” Washington Senators suspended play for two days, and dropped a double-header horribly to the Minnesota Twins (the former Senators, who skipped town in a racially charged atmosphere) here Thursday, Aug. 30.
Dana Milbank has a perspective today, in the Washington Post, calling us “the weakest generation” because we don’t face sacrifice like earlier generations did, here
   

Robert Kaiser has a perspective on the underwhelming Post coverage then, here


Today, I got off at the Smithsonian Station, found all escalators stopped, and the head of the stairs packed with people trying to return (about 2:30 PM).  But the Mall was not that crowded.  The mood was radical.  I stopped for a hamburger on a 14th St. vendor.  The burger was delicious and the line was short, but it took forever to get the food.
  

As I approached the Monument and Tidal Basin, and then turned up toward the Ellipse past the WWII memorial, the mood changed.  The people were more “upper middle class”, more college students. There was a more polite, politically correct liberalism in the air, a bit safer.  It became gradually gayer, more white, more male.  This was Democratic Party mainstream, but more the privileged crowd.
   
I did see a few “revolution” signs around.  There were, particularly on the Mall itself, a lot of “single issue” posters about Trayvon Martin and Stand your ground.  T-shirts on that particular issue were being sold.  There were lots of people asking for donations.   I saw only one poster about the NSA-Wikileaks-peace issue, with the name “Chelsea Manning”.


I did not see the infrastructure set up that I recall from the gay march in April 1993.  
   
  
There were plenty of speeches today, including one by Corey Booker (Newark NJ mayor and candidate for US Senate) story here

    
A lot of businesses will take Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 off.  Will the big event happen then?

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