Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Women and the dream

With the historic celebration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington today, I've been enjoying seeing the stories of women's role (and exclusion) in the March.

This year is the first time I've heard about gospel singer Mahalia Jackson's influence in encouraging MLK to use the specific "I have a dream" language in his famous speech on the Washington mall that day.

Democracy Now interviewed now 90-year-old Gloria Richardson about her memories of women being censored from the March and key meetings.  Only one woman spoke from the podium that day and she herself was cut from the program after only saying "hello".

Bernardine Watson at the WaPo's She the People blog encourages her readers to rewrite women's roles in the civil right's movement back into history by highlighting a list of black women leaders who's stories are rarely told. 

As with any fight for equality and change in our country's history, the heroes are complicated.  And I'm grateful today not only for the powerful step forward our country took 50 years ago with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s heart changing speech, but also for the shoulders of the women giants he had to stand on to make it happen.

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