Monday, August 26, 2013

CNN: "We Were There: The March on Washington: An Oral History"

CNN Presents rendered a special report, “We Were There: The March on Washington: An Oral History”, on Sunday Aug. 25, narrated by Don Lemon.
CNN’s typical link is here

The “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” in 1963 was preceded by a great deal of uncertainty.  The march was put together quickly in mid August, and promoters didn’t know if people would even come.

The day of the March, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 1963, Washington was practically shut down.  The National Guard was readied.  Decisions had to be made about arming it, and making the Guard racially balanced.  Bars were closed in Washington DC.   Plans for martial law were drawn up. 

That morning, the highways were filled with busses. 250,000 people came, but the Mall did not begin to fill with people until after sunup.  Most people left DC before dark and went back the same day. 
Activists kept records on paper of the busloads.

After Dr. Martin Luther King, the most important speaker was John Lewis. 
The film mentions the contributions of black gay activist Bayard Rustin. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post has an article om Rustin whom he calls a pacifist and socialist also, link here. Oh, maybe Noam Chomsky is straight!

(Note: the phrase “We Were Here” is also used in an important film about AIDS, movies blog, May 8, 2011).  

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