Atlanta civil rights leaders mark 60th anniversary of March on Washington

Ambassador Andrew Young says he is encouraged by the progress Black Americans have made since the historic March on Washington 60 years old.

The civil rights leader, the Rev. Al Sharpton and others returned to our Nation’s Capital over the weekend to commemorate and continue the work that Dr. Martin Luther King and others started.

The historic March on Washington is still considered the greatest and most consequential equality demonstration in US history.

Sixty years later, civil rights leader Ambassador Andrew Young who attended both the initial march and the anniversary march over the weekend concedes the numbers this year were smaller.

"I don't know how you judge the success of a march, but what I saw were the broad variety of institutions that were taking part that did not exist in '63," Young recalled.

Ambassador Young says the recent crowd was more diverse and inclusive of LGBTQ+ rights, women's rights, immigrant rights, union rights and more. 

The former Atlanta mayor says despite recent Supreme Court decisions and racially motivated hate crimes, over all... America is still making progress.

"Tensions are the result of growth and change. I don't see tension at the Beyoncé concert or a Lionel Richie concert. They're not only dancing and singing. They're investing in housing and making money honestly and opening restaurants. The progress now is more economical than political," Young exclaimed.

Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley has worked in the movement for more than 60 years. He is now 82 years old, but was a foot soldier and Tennessee State University student leader in the crowd back in 1963.

He believes it is time for human rights activists to become more vigilant.

"We are losing so much of what we fought for, voting rights, civil rights, education rights, economic rights. It’s very critical now to do what we did then. We must come together and build coalitions," Rev Durley insists.

This year he, like Young, was one of more than 100 speakers at the anniversary march, he believes many today lack a strong commitment.

"People today are not willing to sacrifice. They will tell you I would like to come, but I have a fraternity meeting, or I have a meeting on my job. We were willing to walk off the job or not be in school that particular day," Rev Durley exclaimed.

Both Ambassador Young and Rev. Durley agree the real success of the march will be determined by what happens now, once participants go back to their communities and begin making a difference.