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Charlotte Talks: Almost 60 Years Later, Why The March On Washington Continues

Library of Congress

Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020

On Aug. 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed, “I have a dream,” marking one of America’s defining moments. Now, as anger over police brutality and racial injustice have manifested as protests across the country, we look at the March on Washington to understand what made that march historic and why the struggle continues almost 60 years later.

Approximately 250,000 people heard King speak at the Lincoln Memorial that day, making it one of the largest civil rights rallies in American history. One hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation, many historians credit the march for adding momentum to the passage of groundbreaking civil rights legislation.

Charlie Euchner argues that in 1963, the movement was more than just a protest. The march “was recentering and reproclaiming kind of like a new Declaration of Independence.” In terms of 2020, he says a similar march, taking advantage of nationwide activism and indignation, “could be a New Deal moment. It could be a Civil Rights Act of ’64 moment.”

As we’re days away from a new generation of activists leading the 2020 March on Washington, we discuss the foundation of the movement and where this years march might take us.


Charlie Euchner, author of “Nobody Turn Me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington

Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.