“Since the original Civil Rights Movement 50 years ago, we as a people easily voted for Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush 41 and 43, and Bill Clinton,” the Reverend Al Sharpton spoke passionately at the podium. “Why is it therefore an issue when it comes to voting for Barrack Obama?”
On August 24, 2013, a commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington took place at Washington, DC’s National Mall. The event served as a tribute to those who fought for civil rights, as well as a history lesson for young people unfamiliar with the movement.
More importantly it was also a call to the post-Civil Rights generations to ponder the issues the United States continues to face, and what can be done about them. Issues receiving significant attention from the speakers were gun violence both inside and outside of the black community, voting rights, immigration reform, and the importance of extending to Civil Rights to all groups in the United States.
“A young man recently told me, ‘Reverend Sharpton, the Civil Rights Movement didn’t do anything for me. Take a look at my resume. I did all of this myself,’” Reverend Sharpton told a story about a young man who questioned the role of the Civil Rights movement in his current successes. “I looked at his resume and agreed with him, but I then reminded him that the Civil Rights Movement had everything to do with his resume getting fair consideration by potential employers so that he could get a job.”
Reverend Sharpton was one of many speakers including Attorney General Eric Holder, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.), and Martin Luther King III the son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Also in attendance was Sabrina Fulton, the mother the slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin and relatives of Emit Till. The event was sponsored by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, Martin Luther King III and the NAACP.
“Trayvon was not just my son, he was the son of all of us,” Sabrina Fulton said of her son. She closed out saying, “Moving forward, we need to be both aware and conscious of the laws in our society.”
The commemoration concluded with a march starting at the Lincoln Memorial which concluded at the Washington Monument. The commemoration drew tens of thousands of people to the National Mall. Events are being held in Washington, DC from August 21-28 concluding with a speech back at the Lincoln Memorial the morning of the 28th by President Obama and other distinguished guests.