50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
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Congressman John Lewis — was one of MLK Jr. close associates. And as head of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (S.N.C.C.) he was selected to be one of the featured speakers at the March on Washington. In an extensive interview, Congressman Lewis reflects back on some of the remarkable moments during the 63 March on Washington.
[Clip 1] In the early morning on August 28, 1963, prior to the March, Martin Luther King Jr., A. Philip Randolph, John Lewis, and a number of other leaders met with several key Congressman and Senators. As they concluded their meetings inside the Capitol, thousands of citizens outside the Capital, anxious to begin the march and get to the Lincoln Memorial to hear their leaders, began the march without their leaders. When they realized that “the masses” were beginning the march without them, Doctor King, John Lewis and the other leaders immediately left the Capitol building. The following audio clip describes what happened next….
[Clip 2] At the time, John Lewis was the youngest speaker to address the crowd that had gather at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. As head of S.N.C.C. Lewis was the voice of the young people in America who, understandably, had grown tired of the unmet promises from American leaders over the years. As a result, the original speech that he wrote was powerful and unapologetic. In his original speech. Lewis called for a “revolution”. His choice of words made some of the organizers of the March a bit concerned and nervous. In the audio clip that follows,Congressman John Lewis reflects on the controversy, over 50 years ago, that ensued over his speech.
A more complete telling of his story and the remembrances of others are contained in the soon to be released book “Marching Forward By Looking Back: The Legacy of the March On Washington”.