We all know that Martin Luther King made his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington, just over 50 years ago. But the march was much more than that speech.
All three TV networks covered it live (using the exotic new Telstar satellite). John Lewis, then a key civil rights leader and now a veteran Congressman from Georgia, was the youngest speaker on the program; he criticized the Kennedy Administration for not doing enough to protect civil rights, and cautious March leaders demanded he cut the sharpest parts of his speech. Harry Belafonte was one of the organizers of the March and provided financial support for the movement at crucial moments. And the March helped lead to passage of the Civil Rights Act and later the Voting Rights Act.
Now that the Supreme Court has cut away key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, how do these two veterans perceive the longterm impact of the March? And is it time for another one?
Julian Bond was a distinctive voice in the Civil Rights Movement, a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Chairman of the NAACP for more than a decade, first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a legislator in the state of Georgia for over 20 consecutive years.
More bio on Julian Bond is available here.
Clarence B. Jones served as speechwriter and counsel to Martin Luther King, Jr. and is currently a scholar-in-residence and visiting professor at Stanford University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute. Selected by Time magazine in 1972 as one of “The 100 Future Leaders of America,” and twice recognized in Fortune magazine as “A Businessman of the Month,” Jones has received numerous state and national awards recognizing his significant contributions to American society. He is the author of Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation.
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