50 Years…

Today is the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. Yes, this is the blog of a Canadian… but yes, this is still important.

There’s not much I can say that hasn’t been said a million times in the last 50 years, but since I did quite a bit of research on this particular period of American history back when I was a History nerd, I thought I’d give you some fun facts.

1. “I Have a Dream” was not Dr. King’s written speech. It was based on a sermon he had given a few weeks before, but even then it was largely off-the-cuff. This is pretty impressive to me given the number and bredth of references that are in it.

2. Dr. King had not intended to give that speech on that watershed day in Washington, but was urged to do so by Ms. Mahalia Jackson.

And that right there was the basis of all of my research in university – Torchbearers versus Trailblazers. While torchbearers bring light to an issue and guides those that follow – like Dr. King – a trailblazer goes first, and carves a path for the torchbearer – and that was the role of women in the Civil Rights movement.

So that’s why I love these two fun facts – that speech is attributed to bringing light to the issue, making the march such a success and making it an issue that many more Americans (certainly not all) could relate to.

But it wouldn’t have happened it if it weren’t for Ms. Jackson.



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