Home » Black History » What to the American is the March on Washington?

What to the American is the March on Washington?

It’s Me!



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“What happens to a dream deferred?”  That was the poignant question posed by Langston Hughes in his 1951 published worked called, Montage of a Dream Deferred. Twelve

The People

The People

years later, Dr. King and his dream roared from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th, 1963.

Unfortunately, we know what happened to Dr. King, but what happened to his dream? I would assert that the disappointment of his assassination and not fully fulfilling “the dream” diffused into the universe, spreading throughout generations, and today we are being forced to make that dream a reality. And, there is no resistance.  Divine intervention? I would say so.

On Saturday August 24th, 2013, I had a very fortunate vantage point from which to place the March on Washington 2013; moreover, there were no boundary lines keeping me from seeing the stalwarts of the past fifty years serve and interact as historical mentors to contemporary interns reinvigorating “The Dream. ” Unlike the 1963 March on Washington, the goals of this march appeared to be somewhat blurred, and still there was a common thread of togetherness and label-shredding validating the necessity to

THE John Lewis and me!

THE John Lewis and me!

commemorate Bayard Rustin’s and A. Phillip Randolph’s vision of inducing the governmental accountability to the poor, jobless, marginalized and invisible.  Despite the insurmountable work ahead (and I submit that the work will never be done as ideas and attitudes evolve), I witnessed people committed to improving their lives and the lives of others in simple acts of kindness such as making seats available for late comers.  I witnessed people offering their snacks to others around them.  No [mental] surveys were given to see if the person was immigrant, gay, rich, poor, or American.  People were just being humanly kind and the labels didn’t matter.

The highlights were many, almost to the point where I don’t know if you can honestly say that there was one I loved more than the other. And, for me, the moments were more

Rajmohan Gandhi and me!

Rajmohan Gandhi and me!

than seeing these almost mythological figures in person; for, in front of me and seated right next to me were everyday men and women that had committed their lives to serving others, not for the gain of personal celebrity, but because it was the right thing to do.  There were no bodyguards, no pretentiousness, and no do-you-know-who-I-am attitudes. They were just people with smiles and hugs and wisdom.

The March on Washington is America’s only chance at redemption and rehabilitation.  For Black Americans it is our ultimate testimony. Fifty years later, “the dream” has been customized to be everybody’s testimony in the quest to become a little more visible and a little less marginalized under the government’s watch. The March on Washington is American’s truth serum and her (his) red, white and blue badge of courage.

In 1963, President Kennedy opted to watch the March on Washington from the White House. On Saturday’s event, President Obama was not in attendance either. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Attorney General Eric Holder, and former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi appeared and remarked. But the people were asking, where was President

Attorney General Eric Holder let me take his pic! Thanks!

Attorney General Eric Holder let me take his pic! Thanks!

Obama?  Unlike Presidents of the past, President Obama is presiding during some of the most commemorative events our nation and the world has ever seen.

On Wednesday, August 28th, the actual anniversary of the March on Washington, President Obama will bring former Presidents Clinton and Carter to acknowledge the March on Washington. I liken this gesture as President Obama’s way of finally getting the office of the President to share in the dream so many Americans are attempting to fulfill. But we cannot do it alone.  No presumption as I don’t know what President Obama’s remarks will be, but the very fact that he will speak from the very spot Dr. King stood in condemnation of the government’s failure to uphold the promises of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, is at very least, a decree that the government is finally ready to move America in the right direction for the sake of Black Americans and all other Americans.  When Dr. King stated in his speech that the people had gathered on the nation’s mall to “dramatize an appalling condition,”  he presented the

The Dream Defenders

The Dream Defenders

brevity and sense of urgency A. Phillip Randolph and Bayard Rustin had in compelling the government to honor its promise.

The March on Washington is a lot more than an event to commemorate.  It is America’s moral compass.  It is a lesson in expediency and seizing the moments of now. Without pause, it is a guideline teaching the government how to implement justice and create opportunities for all people.  Finally, it is an order to public officials to be courageous in honoring the oaths taken prior to taking office.


  1. Don says:

    Inspiring as always….
    History has been made

    • Zakiyyah Ali says:

      Awwww…thanks Don!! History is a journey. As Tavis Smiley would say, history is also the present. 🙂 We are living in moments in which we are changing the world just as sure as we are breathing. I can’t wait to see the March from your vantage point: What’s your story??

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