Whitney M Young Jr., the president of the National Urban League during the time period of 1961 to 1971, worked diligently alongside other labor movement, social justice and civil rights leaders for the successful organization of the March on Washington, held on August 28, 1963. The event was a great success and had over 250,000 people in attendance. It was the same occasion when the Nobel Laureate Dr Martin Luther King gave his historic ‘I have a dream’ speech.
To commemorate that grand event, tens of thousands of patriotic citizens from all over the United States gathered at Lincoln Memorial on August 24, 2013. All of them converged there to show their dedication and support to the freedom of people in general, and to highlight several challenges faced by the African-American community and people of other nationalities.
As they dedicatedly worked to commemorate the great March on Washington, the people belonging to National Urban league were on the front lines during that week’s activities, leading up to grand celebrations on August 28, 2013. The head representative of the National Urban league addressed a great multitude of people from the same location where Whitney Young and Dr Martin Luther King addressed people in March 1963. As many as 5000 people belonging to the Urban league, as well as their friends, marched to the Lincoln Memorial in that pre-March rally.
The event was titled as “Urban league Pre-March Rally - 50th Anniversary March on Washington - Realize the Dream March & Rally.” Jobs, justice and freedom were the three main aspects highlighted on the occasion.
The Urban League Pre-March Rally was held with a gathering at the Independence ballroom, Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H St. NW from 6 AM to 7 AM. The event was attended by all the Urban League leaders, their friends, partners and supporters. They all gathered there for a brief program and a sign-making activity, and then marched on together to the Lincoln Memorial as a tribute to the March on Washington and to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
At around 8 AM, every one reached the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall. This is where the ‘Realize the Dream March’ rally happened, followed by a march together to the King Memorial. Some of the speakers at the venue were:
- Congressman John Lewis
- Martin Luther King III
- Marc H Morial
- The National Council of La Raza’s President, Janet Muruguia
- Rev Al Sharpton
- House Democratic Leader Representative Nancy Pelosi
- Families of Emmet Till and Trayvon Martin
Some of the co-conveners of the get-together were:
NCBW (National Coalition of Black Women), APRI (A Philip Randolph Institute), SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees), NEA (National Education Association), NCNW (National Council of Negro Women), NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), LCCR (Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights), AFT (American Federation of Teachers), CWA (Communications Workers of America), SEIU (Service Employers’ International Union), NCBCP (National Coalition on Black Civic Participation), LiUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America), CWBI (Communities Without Boundaries International), The King Center and Unite Here.