From the Washington Post's Political Bookworm Blog:
It’s not exactly a memorable anniversary year – not the 25th, or 50th, or 75th year since Martin Luther King’s memorable “I Have a Dream Speech.” It’s the 47th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington on Saturday, and this one may become memorable because in this highly charged election year, the day is being claimed from opposite sides of the political spectrum. Charles Euchner has chronicled the actual day more than 40 years ago (and less than 50) in “Nobody Turn Me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington,” released this month by Beacon Press. Here, Euchner, who teaches writing at Yale University and is the author of eight books, reflects on the competing commemorations taking place in Washington this weekend.
Euchner says of the 1963 March:
On that long-ago August afternoon, order prevailed. Americans watching live TV coverage -- the first time anyone ever saw the movement gather together -- witnessed a joyous but determined crowd. One commentator likened it to a church picnic, but it was more than that. With their numbers, marchers presented a “living petition.” Marchers served notice, in King’s words, that they “can never be satisfied” until gaining their full rights as citizens.
But marchers knew they had to avoid responding to violence with violence -- or even returning the vitriol of their foes. When they were attacked or slandered, they were taught to turn away. Only by focusing on higher values -- universal values -- could they succeed.