After thousands of people gathered on the National Mall over the weekend to mark the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement’s march on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, former GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain weighed in with his own memories of the event and its legacy in American history:
The achievements of the Civil Rights Movement presented young blacks like me with both the right and the responsibility to succeed.
I had graduated from high school and looking forward to starting at Morehouse College in the fall of 1963 – 50 years ago – when the famous March on Washington was held. I remember seeing the massive crowd of mostly black people on TV cascading from the Lincoln Monument.
I listened to some of the speeches given that day, but everybody listened to Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Only the coldest of hearts or a dead person would not have been inspired.
I must admit that as a soon-to-be college freshman, I was not convinced that any tangible results would happen following the March. Although the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were historic, I did not fully realize how their impact on Blacks and all of America would unfold until years later.
Millions of black people and minorities were the early beneficiaries of these landmark laws of the land, and most certainly beneficiaries of the Civil Rights Movement, which was punctuated with that great event and great speech by Dr. King on August 28, 1963. We must not forget, however, that there were many other sacrifices by many others for the Movement leading up to this historic day, and these historic Acts of Congress.