Comparisons Between 1963 March on Washington and the 2013 Celebration
The first March on Washington was on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 1963.
The original title of the 1963 march was The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Rep. John Lewis is the only surviving speaker from the March on Washington. He was the youngest speaker at only 23 years old at the time. He spoke at the 2013 celebration saying, "We cannot give up. We cannot give out. We cannot give in."
Following Rep. Lewis' speech this year was the youngest speaker, 9-year Asean Johnson from Marcus Garvey School who said he was marching on Washington for education, justice, and freedom.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the final speaker at the 1963 march. His "I Have a Dream" speech was not a new speech. He had used parts of it before. In fact, he deviated from his original speech and closed with the "I Have a Dream" portion after Mahalia Jackson yelled out, "Tell 'em about the dream, Martin" because she had here it before.
There were approximately 250,000 in attendance for the 1963 march. Of that number, there were approximately 60,000 whites.
More than 2,000 buses, 21 chartered trains, 10 chartered airliners, and uncounted cars converged on Washington. All regularly scheduled planes, trains, and buses were also filled to capacity.
President John F. Kennedy did not attend the 1963 march; however, between 75-100 members of Congress met with him, and they watched it on television.
Only 5 blacks were in Congress in 1963; however, there are 75 blacks in Congress in 2013.
The speakers during the celebration of 50 years made references to the original march and gave words of hope and encouragement for going forward for justice, freedom and racial equality.
The keynote speaker was Rev. Al Sharpton who referenced the bounced check Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. mentioned in his speech 50 years ago. Dr. King said blacks were given a promissory note to take to the bank, but it bounced. Rev. Sharpton said, blacks took the check back to the bank and it bounced again. He concluded by saying, "We believe in a new America. It's time to march for a new America. We're on our way."