Published Aug. 25, 2023
Though the 1963 March on Washington is most defined by the immortal words of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, it was the vision of economic justice he shared with A. Phillip Randolph and Bayard Rustin that awoke the spirit of struggle within those who marched that year. To conceive of the March as only an effort to achieve electoral representation for African Americans would ignore the economic degradation and exploitation that motivated its leaders and defined its goals. This landmark event has been whitewashed by the USA political and media elites, who downplay the importance of economics in supposedly democratic institutions. Furthermore, the March’s legislative impact is being diminished by current acts of political structural violence in what the NAACP calls a “conspiracy against Americans’ voting rights” (“Appeal from the NAACP,” 5 August 2023). Conservative Republican politicians are creating new barriers to prevent African Americans from participating in elections, using various tactics of voter suppression, such as gerrymandering, passing discriminatory voter ID Laws, restricting mail-in ballots, scheduling voting on work days, and even reviving poll taxes. For the 60th anniversary of the March, we ask Friends not only to reflect on its victories, but also to learn from its aspirations as we work to be actively anti-violent within a blatantly corrupt and racialized world.
from Harold Weaver, BlackQuaker Project (8/21/2023)