Roundtable: The March on Washington & The Future of the Civil Rights Movement

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The March on Washington (Doranne Jacobson)

Today we're recognizing the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for what it was: A turning point in the civil rights movement that motivated Congress to take action on inequality. First came the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and then later the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Those who marched on the Washington Mall 50 years ago today made their demands clear—they wanted fair labor standards, decent housing, desegregated schools, a higher minimum wage, and job opportunities. But half a century later, though progress had been made, many of the marchers' demands remain unmet.

Joining to discuss the future of the modern civil rights movement is Farai Chideya, a distinguished writer in residence at New York University’s Journalism Institute; Peter Blair Henry, the Dean of New York University’s Stern School of Business; and George Packer, a staff writer at The New Yorker.


Peter Blair Henry, Farai Chideya and George Packer

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja, Ally Harrison and Megan Quellhorst


T.J. Raphael

Comments [4]

unkerjay from Puget Sound, WA

What I'd like to know, is where were the republicans today?

For the record (from Rachel Maddows' blog):


Republican congressional leaders were absent from Wednesday's 50th anniversary event commemorating the March on Washington.

The offices of Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner both said they were invited to the event, but were unable to attend due to previous scheduling commitments.

Boehner participated in a July congressional ceremony in the Capitol to mark the anniversary and Cantor participated in a pilgrimage earlier in the year to Selma Alabama with civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis. Cantor's office says they only received an invitation 12 days ago, and his calendar was already full.

Boehner, for the record, is on a 15-state bus tour, raising money for conservative Republican lawmakers. It's not clear what Cantor had scheduled for this afternoon.

The Wall Street Journal added that both Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were invited, but both declined citing poor health. (The younger Bush, you'll recall, is recovering from a heart procedure.)

It's not that the King family "allowed no one with different political beliefs on stage"; it's that Democrats were better able to accept the invitations to participate."

Just as, whether or not the president is liked for his military policy, his place on memorial day is at the tomb of the unknown soldier representing ALL Americans and servicemembers who've given their lives in service to this country. This was a notable anniversary which deserved recognition by ALL Americans, not just democrats or
primarily democrats, a number of who, at the time, OPPOSED the measures voted on:
the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, who LEFT the party to become republicans.

This wasn't a left OR right moment. It was an AMERICAN moment. And they WERE invited to be a part of it.

In the past, and in the future, as one who's served in the military, I will continue to honor those who've served regardless of whether or not I approve of the conflict, as a brother in arms who respects their service and knows PERSONALLY their sacrifice.

Likewise, should a president die, REGARDLESS of party, I have never and will never speak ill of the dead. They've risen to the position of President, as determined by a majority of Americans. Whether or not I agreed with them, their policies, the point at which they've passed on, is not the time to spit on their grave. Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush ALL deserve at least that level of respect.

This was a moment in which a black man, speaking for ALL Americans, ultimately gave his live in service to the belief that ALL are created equal and entitled to equal treatment under the law, should've been honored by ALL Americans.

Republicans missed an opportunity to rise to that level.

Shame on them.

Aug. 28 2013 11:35 PM
Guy Gold from Austin, TX

The answer is always more education-ignoring the fact that the more you glut the market with college graduates the worse the higher education investment becomes. That IQ is highly inheritable also is the reason presented with scientific facts in The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American life-that those born to poor families tend to stay poor (poverty is tied to IQ). This idea put forth today by college professors is that poverty is due to the lack of educational opportunity is absurd at face value. We have a higher education loan bubble that puts the housing bubble to shame-anybody that wants to go to college has the opportunity through an easy to get government backed loan to go.

The real problem is that these college professors promote their own well being-higher and higher salaries, when the two things that most could help the poor are:

1) Revoke every college credentialing requirement government has put on professions the last 50 years:

2) Start realizing that these manual labor jobs that nobody much worried about going overseas-are the jobs that are appropriate for the vast majority of Americans in the IQ range of 90 to 110-and were what provided historically the largest middle class in America. There will be no economic recovery without manufacturing returning-the occupation best suited for the average intelligence American.

Aug. 28 2013 06:37 PM
Ed from Larchmont

The problem now is the disintegration of the black family, with other families. And the scourge of abortion that is killing so many African American children. President Obama is on the wrong side of that one.

Aug. 28 2013 02:54 PM
Mr. Wakiki from US

Too bad Mitt Romney isn't the president giving a speech on race relationships

Aug. 28 2013 09:28 AM

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