50th Anniversary March on Washington – The Signs


On Saturday the manservant and I went down to the National Mall to the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s  “March on Washington”.    As we entered the Mall near the Washington Monument (shrouded in scaffolding whilst being repaired of damage done during our 2011 earthquake), we were offered signs to carry.  IMG_5770a The other side says “We Demand Equality for All”  but in that photo the manservant has managed to cut off the bottom of the sign as well as make me and the Monument look as though we are falling over.

This was the view as we approached the World War II Memorial:   The Reflecting Pool is in-front of the WWII Memorial and is 2,029 feet (618 m) long and was lined with people on both sides. I’ve heard that there were 100,000 people there but that was not an “official”  number.IMG_5789

We got not quite half way along the Reflecting Pool  – any further forward and I would’ve felt uncomfortable with the number of people –  there was still a bit of breathing space where we stood.   IMG_5810

We could hear the speakers but not see them – not even with my camera zoomed all the way  IMG_5806

There was an array of signs from Statehood for DC,  gay rights, protection of voting rights, child slavery, equality, DREAM Act, posters featuring Trayvon Martin and just about an equal number of tee shirts displaying causes or associations (which will have to be another post because I have too many photos).   IMG_5941










The speakers stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and talked about equality, preserving voting rights, gun violence, economic disparity and promises made which are still outstanding.   (most of the quotes below I grabbed from the Washington Post and NBCWashington  –  I had a camera but no pen & notepad). IMG_5832.

Speakers included Rev. Al Sharpton who said:  “Dreams are for those who won’t accept reality as it is, so they dream of what is not there and make it possible”IMG_5808

He also addressed the young, black, males:   “Don’t disrespect your women. Make it clear that you know that Rosa Parks wasn’t no ‘ho,’ and Fannie Lou Hamer wasn’t no bitch” IMG_5805a

And he said of society that “We need to give them dreams again, not to worry about sagging pants, but sagging morality. If we told them who they could be and what they could do, they would pull up their pants and get to work.”   IMG_5898a



Cory Booker (mayor of Newark NJ) : Me and my generation cannot now afford to sit back consuming all of our blessings, getting dumb, fat and happy thinking we have achieved our freedoms.  IMG_5988

Rep. John Lewis, the last surviving speaker from the 1963 march said …  we’ve come a long way from where we were but we still have a long way to go. “We cannot give up. We cannot give out. And we cannot give in,”   IMG_5842


Attorney General Eric Holder:   Our focus has broadened to include the cause of women, of Latinos, of Asian Americans, of lesbians, of gays of people with disabilities and of countless others across this great country who still yearn for equality.  IMG_5933



50 years ago women marched but did not address the crowd.  Yesterday Rep. Nancy Pelosi spoke, Sybrina Fulton gave a tribute to her son, Trayvon Martin,  Myrlie Evers-Williams spoke and Rev Bernice King (King’s daughter) closed the event with a prayer.   IMG_5878a






And there was a surprise live performance by Tony Bennett (at least it was a surprise to us as we hadn’t noticed that being advertised).   He sang “Just in Time”    –  there’s an interesting history of why he sang this particular song  hereIMG_5887




16 responses

  1. Thanks for that, Emjay. I was privileged to see the spot where MLK gave that soul stirring speech. It is marked on the step. As well it should be. Power to the people, indeed.

    • Yep – people power Snowy. There was a wonderful atmosphere. There is another event on Wednesday which is the actual anniversary and where Presidents Obama, Clinton & Carter will speak- sadly we will be at work.

    • I’ll have to look through my photos and see if I have one of their sign. There were so many people it would be easy to miss a sign if there were only a few of them. Or, perhaps they intend to attend the event on Wednesday – the actual anniversary.

  2. Fantastic post, thanks, MJ (and to your Mister) for going and sharing. It looks like it was also a lovely day.

    Rev. Sharpton is SUCH an inspiring speaker.

  3. What an mpressive array of speakers. And thank you Reverend Sharpton for the mention of women. There’s an African American artist who started a collection of art signs, I think it’s called “My Name’s Not Baby”. Discouraging catcalls and general rampant sexism.

    Not 100% on topic but still the same theme of respect.

    I wish I could have attended this. But thanks for sharing it all. Overwhelming the number of signs and enlightening sentiment I see there. Glad people are starting a new revolution. Love it.

  4. The Trayvon Martin sign reminded me of this awful letter to the Editor in yesterday’s local paper. The writer was ranting about how an Australian athlete was shot in Oklahoma by three “bored” teens, two of them black, and that the “liberal media” had completely ignored the story after having “played up” the Trayvon Martin murder. I don’t know where the writer got the idea that the mainstream media is liberal or that it ignored the story—I saw quite a bit about the Oklahoma murder online and on TV, but it was depressing to see the racial divisions expressed so blatantly in our otherwise well-edited newspaper. A friend who was an original Freedom Rider back in the early 60s isn’t fazed by this after having spent time in jail just for protesting, however. She said Dr. King and the other leaders of the Civil Rights movement knew it would take a long time for racial equality to arrive in the US. She’d hoped to see more progress by now, but she says she won’t ever lose hope.

    I wish I was that strong. I also wish I had been there with you at the anniversary march! You should be proud to have been there. 🙂

    • I think a lot of people thought they’d have seen more progress by now. I don’t think I’d go very well in jail.

      We have CNN on basically all day in our office reception area (the last hour of the day it’s on our local NBC news) and there was quite a lot of coverage of the Oklahoma murder. The DA has said that there wasn’t enough evidence to establish that race was the primary motive in the murder.

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