Skip to content

Events to be held marking 50th anniversary of March on Washington

Though the name "March on Washington" is well known, the full title of the 1963 gathering was called the "March on Washington
Though the name “March on Washington” is well known, the full title of the 1963 gathering was called the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.”

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Rallies, discussions and a musical and dance tribute are planned today to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, best remembered for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech.”

What organizers have dubbed as the “Promissory Note Civil Rights Rally” took place this afternoon at City Hall.

It was inspired by the portion of the speech where King declared that “the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir,” but “America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned.”

More than 200 airport workers and supporters held a march and rally, calling for good jobs at Los Angeles International Airport.

A community event marking the speech’s anniversary was held at El Camino College’s Compton Center, including remarks by Rep. Janice Hahn, D-San Pedro” and a panel discussion on the speech’s impact in 1963 and now. Panel participants include the Rev. James M. Lawson Jr., who King called “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world,” and former Councilman Robert Farrell.

A “Stand-In for Jobs and Freedom” will be held at the corner of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards in the Crenshaw district at 3:30 p.m. It will “challenge 50 Los Angeles employers to take the “Freedom at 50 Jobs Pledge” of hiring at least one minority employee to commemorate the 1963 March of Washington, said organizer Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

“Jobs and freedom was the goal of the 1963 march,” said Hutchinson, the president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable. “Our L.A. March on Washington Stand-In commemoration is a direct call to action on the part of public officials and business leaders to tackle the chronic crisis of minority unemployment, especially among young African Americans.

“That goal was compelling in 1963 and just as compelling today.”

A musical and dance tribute “Dance the Dream” will be held at Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live at 6 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by a video screening of “The Dream @ 50,” featuring videotaped performances by artists including Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Usher and Common.

A “commemoration and call to action” titled “Reclaim The Riches of Freedom, Regain the Security of Justice” will be held at Holman United Methodist Church in Jefferson Park beginning at 7 p.m. Lawson, Maulana Karenga, the creator of Kwanzaa, and Mayor Eric Garcetti are among the scheduled speakers.