Black conservatives reflect on 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

8/23/2013, 2:42 a.m.

— On August 28, Americans will observe the 50th anniversary of the "March on Washington" civil rights rally. Black conservatives affiliated with the Project 21 leadership network are sharing their reflections on the anniversary by talking about the lessons learned since that day, how the March affected their lives and how American society has changed since that day in 1963.

While it was called the "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom," the event is now commonly called the March on Washington. It was a major turning point in America's civil rights movement. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC, where they heard, among many other speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.


Courtesy photo

Joe Hicks

Project 21's Joe Hicks is a former executive director of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization founded by King. Currently the vice president of Community Advocates, Inc., Hicks also served as the executive director of the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission and has hosted his own radio talk show. Worried that some are spoiling the legacy of the event, Hicks said:

Fifty years ago, civil rights organizations and black Americans from all over the nation gathered in Washington, D.C. to demand that full civil rights and equal opportunity be granted to them as outlined in the nation's Constitution. If Dr. King and other larger-than-life civil rights leaders from that era were alive today, they would be stunned and amazed by the progress the nation has made since Dr. King made his dramatic "I Have a Dream" speech.

Unfortunately, these great Americans would also be disappointed by the actions of those who inherited their legacy. Dr. King, Ella Baker or Thurgood Marshall would not have endorsed race hustling. In 1963, the protests and demands of black citizens seized the high moral ground and were based in actual suffering and discrimination.

On this 50th anniversary of a great American event, we will witness the tattered, shrill remnants of the once-proud civil rights forces protesting "racial oppression" that is largely pathology and myth. Their actions now are to further a shamelessly outdated and polarizing agenda.

Project 21 member Lisa Fritsch, a talk show host and Tea Party activist in Austin, Texas, said:

Growing up, I was told that hard work, excellence and strong character would make the world Dr. Martin Luther King envisioned a reality for me.

I am fortunate that when I look around my community, my church and my family, I see Dr. King's Dream realized in love and in service. I see my children skipping along, playing and praying with other children who they have judged to be like them— a likeness of heart and mind. We have jokingly referred to our section of my community as the United Nations because we have a family from nearly every racial bent you can think of as well as mixed families. It is a beautiful compilation of fellowship that requires no particular political or racial persuasion to borrow a cup of sugar, come over unexpectedly for tea, get an unexpected ride to the emergency room or attend a Christmas party.