Wednesday, September 11, 2013
He witnessed a historic tribute to a historic moment, and the images from that second to last Saturday in August will forever live in his memory.
That’s how Goose Creek NAACP President David Cakley described the Aug. 24 tribute to the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “March on Washington.”
King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963.
Cakley and 16 others, including seven members of the Goose Creek NAACP branch, traveled in two vans to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 50th anniversary tribute last week.
Cakley said his group arrived early and was concerned because there was no crowd. But by about 9 a.m. they were among the thousands there.
Crowds stretched along both sides of the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial, where speeches took place. Cakley said most speakers had exactly two minutes to talk.
Notable speakers included the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond and Martin Luther King III.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke for an eight minutes, according to Cakley. The Rev. Al Sharpton was the keynote speaker.
“Sharpton did an excellent job,” Cakley said. “He spoke very well, inspiring us to continue to do the work we’re doing, going forward to voice our concerns to congressmen.
“It was a glorious and memorable day for me,” Cakley said. “I’ll keep the images in my mind forever. This was the sentiment of everyone that went with us.
“Everyone was smiling. We were glad to attend this historic occasion.”
Goose Creek NAACP member John Matthews had the opportunity to go to the famous 1963 gathering.
“I had planned to go in 1963 with my younger brother and friends who went but I went to work instead,” Matthews recalled. “My brother is deceased now but if he was still alive he would have made this journey again. So I carried his memory with me.”
Matthews said that “the work of the 1963 march is not yet completed.
“This year the Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act that the 1963 march influenced. South Carolina is moving forward with voter ID that may impede African Americans and other minorities from voting. African American unemployment has flatlined. Too many children are gunned down in senseless acts of violence. Trayvon Martin lies in the ground after one such senseless act.
“I went to join thousands to hopefully send a powerful message to congress and the nation that we are involved in the fight to maintain voting rights and ensure that everyone has equal justice under the law.”
Cakley said the 2013 event “started at the Lincoln Memorial where all the speeches were held. We didn’t go past the MLK memorial until after the march was over. Then we went to the Washington Memorial.”
Cakley said there were a number of prayers at the beginning from Jewish, Catholic, Muslim and other religious attendees.