Today commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. It was here that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous, ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. I’m sure countless bloggers, particularly those in attendance have so much to blog about in part to all of the famous and phenomenal speakers. My focus is a little different, however.
I think the most intriguing thing about the march in 1963 was that so many people answered the call. Can you believe that over 250,000 people were in attendance at the original march? My heart sank when I saw photos and heard that the number was not nearly as close to those that stood at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial fifty years ago. Think about it. In context, there was no Internet, no social media, just the telephone. And, the telephone at the time was a luxury that many households could not afford. The news of this event traveled exclusively through word of mouth. So, what does this march have to do with the business of nonprofits?
It was the N.A.A.C.P., the black church, the fraternities and sororities that networked this message of importance to the people. Why didn’t the people who needed to get this message, get it this year? The people with no jobs, no hope, and the most oppressed should have been there by the hundreds of thousands. On the heels of the Zimmerman Trial, black people should have showed up for Trayvon Martin, they should have showed up to demand jobs, and they should have showed up to set an agenda for the next fifty years.
Black people have seen tremendous progress in a very brief time. The things that my grandparents have seen, I’ve been fortunate to have not seen. And some things I see today would still make them shake their heads in disbelief. Black organization is a vital component to the progress and the fulfillment of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dream.
Do you think black organizations are dropping the ball?