Tonight I will participate in a Twitter chat with some of the best scholars at Duke on the topic of the March on Washington and the commemoration of its fiftieth anniversary. But rather than try to answer the somewhat tired question of whether Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “dream” has been fulfilled, we will try to zero in on the march’s significance in the long quest for economic justice.
It will be the latest of several media appearances I have made on the commemoration of this march – including the Triangle Tribune’s commemoration article and a segment on Carolina News 14’s “Capital Tonight.” I also wrote a recent op-ed, published in Raleigh’s News & Observer, on the loss of teacher tenure as both a labor and civil rights issue. Too often, conversations of civil rights have focused solely on issues of vote suppression here in North Carolina. In reality, they cannot be separated from issues of economic justice.
In that sense, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom is the perfect model. It married two overlapping challenges: black labor’s concern over continued race-based job discrimination amid rapid industrial and agricultural automation, and the larger freedom struggle’s battle against the southern racial caste system, from voting rights and public accommodations to basic dignity. Much of that fight continues.
Anyhow, check the conversation out at 8 p.m. Wednesday at #dukechat and #mow.