Tens of thousands gathered on the National Mall today to reenact the historical moment that happened there 50 years ago. The "March on Washington 2013" was organized by Al Sharpton in conjunction with Martin Luther King III along with members of the clergy, labor and political activist. It was an effort which included a cross-section of all concerned citizens to draw attention to the fact that the dream of Martin Luther King has not been realized.
This event was promoted as a demonstration to contrast the event scheduled on August 28, 2013 which will be a celebration. The Event on Wednesday which is the actual anniversary day of the famous "I Have A Dream" speech delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. will feature as it's keynote the first African-American president in this nation's history, Barack Hussein Obama.
The event on today was an attempt to influence Obama's speech on Wednesday. The original purpose of the march 50 years ago was for Jobs and Freedom. The organizers of the event 50 years later included Justice as one of their demands in addition to the two from the original march. Attorney General Eric Holder was one of the featured speakers on today and promised to do his part to work through the Supreme Court's decision to overturn portions of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The justices in a 5 to 4 decision removed the pre-clearance requirement of states which had a history of discrimination in its voting practices. Immediately Texas moved to enact stricter voting requirements and were followed by North Carolina who passed the strictest voting requirement of any state in the union.
Today's event was well organized and timely in its shuffling of speakers. The speakers ranged from the Attorney General to 9 year-old Asean Johnson. Asean followed Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) who at the age of 23 was the youngest speaker 50 years ago. Asean made it clear that he will go on record as being the youngest speaker 50 years later.
The actual number of those in attendance may never actually be calculated due to the fact that no pre-registration was necessary in order to attend. Surely the pundits will assess some arbitrary number based of some Google Map photo and determine how many people can fit into a square foot and multiply that number by the square feet of area covered in the photo.
Somewhere in that photo will be a minister from Chattanooga, TN named John Taylor. Taylor is a minister in Chattanooga and has served as a City Councilman. Taylor in addition to his duties as a minister also owns and operates the Taylor Funeral Home in that city. His effort to charter a bus to bring others to the event fell short when he was not able to fill the seats on the bus. His response to this setback no doubt was the attitude of all who was in attendance on today. His response was, "I'm going to be there even if I have to hitchhike in order to get there."
Taylor said he was only 1 year old at the first march. This march is important because he understands more. He's also going because he had a personal connection with King in that Fred Gray, King's attorney, was friends with Taylor's father and would stay in their home while traveling through the South
And finally, Taylor said, he's going to push for more employment opportunities.
"A lot of African Americans got jobs because of the way King pushed. Then they stopped pushing for the next generation. But we haven't arrived until we all get there," said Taylor, who owns a funeral home and is pastor of East Third Street Church of Christ.