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August 28, 1963 March on Washington & August 28, 2020 National Action Network Commitment March
August 28, 2020
from our denomination – Presbyterian Church USA
On Aug. 28, 2020, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be joining #Give828, a national day of giving focused specifically on supporting Black-benefiting organizations. #Give828 isn’t like other fundraising campaigns. This day takes place during Black Philanthropy Month and commemorates multiple important historical landmarks in Black Americans’ march toward freedom. Did you know that on:
- Aug. 28, 1955: 14-year-old Emmett Till was brutally murdered by three white men, which became a “flashpoint in the civil rights movement”?
- Aug. 28, 1963: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech during the landmark March on Washington in Washington, D.C.?
- Aug. 28, 2005: Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana? The storm, which devastated New Orleans, inordinately impacted many of the city’s Black residents.
- Aug. 28, 2008: Then-Sen. Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president, becoming the first Black man to ever win the nomination and bid for the presidency?
from the SALT Project Week of August 18, 2020 Almanac
Aug 28 is the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Organizers A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin worked tirelessly for nearly two years, eventually convincing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to set aside their differences and join the effort.
When the day came, thousands poured into the city from all over the country, coming in by bus, train, car, and plane. Chicago and New York officially declared August 28 “Freedom Day,” and gave workers the day off. On the other hand, many feared the march would become violent; the Pentagon put 19,000 troops in the suburbs, just in case.
But in the end there was no violence (indeed, there wasn’t a single arrest!). The marchers peacefully sang and chanted all the way to the Lincoln Memorial, where the 16th speaker that day, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., delivered what would become one of the most celebrated pieces of oratory in American history, part sermon, part rallying cry. Most of the speech revolved around the idea that America has not yet made good on the many promises it has given African Americans; the country has thus far defaulted, King declared, on that “promissory note.”
The renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson had sung “How I Got Over” just before King spoke, and earlier that summer, she had heard him deliver a speech in Detroit that featured the stirring “I have a dream!” refrain. And so that day in August on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, as the young preacher neared the end of his remarks, Jackson called out to him, “Tell them about the dream, Martin!” – and King responded, extemporaneously delivering the words many Americans now know by heart, ending with these:
“When we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”