On August 28, 2013, many prominent celebrities and government officials known for their influence in civil rights politics gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. This influential event, most known for the presentation of the famed “I have a Dream” speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is often marked as a critical time for the civil rights movement. While politics had included many demonstrations to earn equality and fair treatment for African American citizens, this was one of the first instances where political turmoil was interlaced with hope and joy.
The March on Washington in 1963 welcomed over 200,000 people determined to have their voices heard. However, unlike many of the demonstrations for civil rights in the past, the politics here were very much subdued. The talk of the day focused on how to peacefully encourage racial equality, a sentiment that was welcomed with cheers of approval for one of the first times in the modern era of civil rights politics. The words of encouragement spoken on this day are still quoted as a pivotal attitude toward bringing about equality.
Fifty years later, the politics have changed dramatically from the March on Washington. As a new crowd gathered at the Lincoln memorial, the nation’s first American president addressed the crowd with a welcoming note in his voice. President Obama spoke about the long, hard-fought battle for racial equality, and the civil rights politics that made it possible for these individuals to reach their goals. During his speech, he mentioned those who led the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and said that it has resulted in success to gain equality for not only African Americans, but also other minorities in America.
In his speech, President Obama praised the politics that made it possible to stop unfair Jim Crow laws and eliminated dangers to African minorities. By altering the mindset, it became possible for him to address the crowd as an elected leader of the United States. It was difficult to ignore the fact that when it comes to Dr. King’s dream, there is still much to be desired. In last 50 years, politics have shifted to find the equality for a variety of other groups including different races, genders and sexual orientations, but many within these groups claim that the fight is far from over.
African American unemployment is twice than white unemployment, and it is growing at an unsubstantiated rate. With the politics in the United States on an uncompromising divide, many who once stood in front of the Lincoln memorial, praised Dr. King’s for his call for peace. President Obama pointed out that the completion of the march will be toward the days when people would be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. He called it great unfinished business, and now, it is up to the people of the United States to determine the legacy that will be left behind.