50 years after Martin Luther King headlined the “March on Washington,” America has made great strides in protecting and promoting equal rights for all of our country’s citizens. As the recent “March on Richmond” on September 2, 2013 demonstrated however, the reality of the past is still not forgotten, nor have all of the manifestations of America’s racial history been overcome.
Among the marchers on Monday was Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Senator Ralph Northam, a candidate who has consistently stood up for equal rights in Virginia. Sen. Northam’s challenger for Lieutenant Governor on the Republican side of the ticket is the controversial E.W. Jackson.
I’ve often heard that the battle for African-American equality is over, it was won long ago. I’ve seen enough with my own eyes, however, to know that this assertion isn’t true. From just about day one of America’s beginning, individuals of black skin were separated from ‘whites’ and marked as inferior peoples. The legacy of this separation, and the policies and prejudices which informed it, linger on to our own present in a variety of subtle and not so subtle ways.
On the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, the ultimate symbol of common humanity may be slipping alongside the latest Tweet of Miley Cyrus’ racey stage performance and the thousands of other marches that go on throughout the country every year for one cause or another. The March on Washington was an historical event, but maybe it’s time for something new and historical to reignite the dream of those marchers in August 1963.