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60th Anniversary of the March on Washington: Where Do We Go From Here?


Commemorative poster for “Where Do We Go From Here?”
Commemorative poster for “Where Do We Go From Here?”

Presented by the Amistad Research Center (ARC), in collaboration with Dillard University, “Where Do We Go From Here?” commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with a three-day weekend of free programming for the public.


On August 28th, 1963, over 250,000 people from across the country journeyed to the National Mall to participate in the March. The watershed event in Civil Rights history played a pivotal role in raising public awareness and political pressure, contributing to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This landmark legislation aimed to dismantle segregation and eliminate racial discrimination in various aspects of American society, including employment, education, and public facilities. The march's legacy is a testament to the power of collective action and peaceful protest in pursuing justice and equality.


Color slides of the March on Washington, 1963, Arnold de Mille papers, ARC
Color slides of the March on Washington, 1963, Arnold de Mille papers, ARC

ARC and Dillard, along with their partners, Dillard University Center for Racial Justice, Tulane University Carolyn Barber-Pierre Center for Intercultural Life, Loyola University Jesuit Social Research Institute, and Dillard University Ray Charles Program in African-American Material Culture, began the weekend with on Saturday, August 26th, with a film screening of “Louisiana Diary,” a documentary following a group of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) workers, including Ronnie Moore, for a month in the summer 1963 as they organized voter registration drives across Southeastern Louisiana parishes.


Following the screening, our honored panelists, Ronnie Moore and Doratha “Dodie” Smith-Simmons received “Civil Rights Icon” Awards from ARC Executive Director Kathe Hambrick and ARC’s Board Chair, Kim Boyle, Esq., for their lifelong dedication to the advancement of civil rights for all.


Dodie Smith-Simmons and Ronnie Moore awarded Civil Rights Icon Award, photos by J.R. Thomason
Dodie Smith-Simmons and Ronnie Moore awarded Civil Rights Icon Award, photos by J.R. Thomason

The evening concluded with the first Conversations in Color conversation of 2023. Hambrick moderated the discussion between two Civil Rights icons, Moore and Smith-Simmons to discuss their contributions to the movement, reflections on 1963 March, and their hopes for the future.


Conversations in Color discussion with Moore and Smith-Simmons, photo by J.R. Thomason
Conversations in Color discussion with Moore and Smith-Simmons, photo by J.R. Thomason

The original program live streamed from Dillard University’s Georges Auditorium. To view a recording of the event, please follow this link. This event would not have been possible without the support of ARC board and staff, Dillard University Host Committee, Host Committee chair Dr. Eva S. Baham, Dillard University President Dr. Rochelle L. Ford, and all of our sponsors!


The weekend continued on Sunday, August 27th, with an Interfaith Service at Dillard’s Lawless Memorial Chapel. In honor of the diverse groups of people from all ages, faiths, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ethnicities that participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Reverend Herbert Brisbon invited members of the clergy and people of all backgrounds to worship together.


On the actual anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Monday, August 28th, the Dillard University Center of Racial Justice hosted a student engagement forum geared towards their undergraduate population. Dr. Rochelle Ford, Dillard University’s President, provided a timely welcome for the audience. The keynote speaker, President and CEO of Urban League of Louisiana Judy Reese Moore, urged students to organize themselves and speak out against injustices they face and encouraged them with messages of self-determination and empowerment. Student moderators from the University’s Student Government Association led a group of community panelists and student activists to consider the grounding question for the weekend: “Where Do We Go From Here?”


With deep gratitude, the Amistad Research Center sincerely sends its appreciation to all the hands and hearts that brought this important series of programs into fruition.


 

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