Welcome Charles Euchner (The Writing Code) and Host Touré F. Reed (Illinois State Univ)

Nobody Turn Me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington

Charles Euchner’s Nobody Turn Me Around shines much needed light on the legions of individuals and institutions behind the March on Washington. Euchner offers a particularly useful window onto three issues shaping the 1963 rally: the scale of the organizing effort, the ideological and personal tensions driving march organizers, and the policies activists pressed the Kennedy Administration and Congress to enact. By centering his analysis on the people and polices driving the march, Euchner presents the rally as a fully human contrivance—the product of dedicated but nonetheless flawed people who understood the value of forging temporary alliances to achieve specific political ends.

Examining the march from the bottom-up, Euchner does much to challenge the popular, but erroneous, perception of the rally as a mere vehicle for Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. To be sure, Euchner leaves little doubt as to King’s significance as the moral voice of the civil rights movement. But because King’s strength was oratorical prowess rather than organizing acumen, he is confined largely to the periphery of Euchner’s account, as the organizers are the main subjects of this study. The Big Ten—the rally’s core sponsors—are thus at the heart of Euchner’s narrative, while the pivotal figures in this people’s history of the March on Washington are, appropriately, black labor leader A. Philip Randolph and CORE founder Bayard Rustin.

Inspired by the growing economic divide separating blacks and whites, Randolph and Rustin began planning the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” in 1962. The two longtime activists and friends soon approached labor organizations, including the NALC and UAW, as well as civil rights leaders from SCLC, CORE, SNCC, the NAACP, and the NUL with their proposal. While the heads of SCLC, the NAACP and the NUL were initially circumspect about the march, their concerns had largely faded by June 1963 when President Kennedy announced his civil rights agenda. Having shored up the base, organizers could finally take on the task of coordinating the largest rally in the nation’s history in earnest.

The organizational challenges posed by the march were, as Euchner makes clear, monumental. Hoping to iron out the kinks before the big day, civil rights and labor leaders organized a rally of 100,000 people in Detroit (June 1963) as a trial run for the planned march on the nation’s capitol. Drawing on lessons learned from the marches in the Motor City and elsewhere, Rustin, the rally’s coordinator, and staffers such as Rachel Horowitz handled myriad mundane but nonetheless critical details such as acquiring an appropriate sound system, coordinating transportation, providing sufficient numbers of toilets, training security, and policing the content of marchers’ signs. These and other activities required not just cooperation with federal, state, and local government, but they also entailed coordination with some 1,500 local civic organizations—labor unions and churches chief among them.

Euchner’s examination of the human dimensions of the march is his project’s greatest strength. By focusing on the organizers and participants, Euchner complicates the popular view that the rally and the civil rights movement in general were spawned by a high-minded moral, and thus apolitical, sense of unity. To be sure, the march’s leaders presented a united front to the world; nevertheless, organizers’ public display of solidarity, as Euchner shows, masked significant tensions. Few matters inspired as much controversy as Rustin’s leadership position within the march. A skilled and seasoned organizer who had mentored King and organized the Prayer Pilgrimages and Youth Marches on Washington in the late 1950s, Rustin was the obvious choice to coordinate the 1963 rally. His past, however, concerned some of the more conservative members of the coalition. The NAACP’s Roy Wilkins initially objected to Rustin’s leadership role on the grounds that Rustin— who was openly gay, a former member of the Communist Party, and a draft-dodger—threatened the integrity of the march. Wilkins backed down only after Randolph indicated that he would serve as march leader but Rustin would, indeed, organize the rally.

Still, other controversies revealed deep fissures within the coalition itself. March organizers had offered no prominent speaking roles to women. When Randolph and Rustin further insulted female activists by excluding them from the National Press Club, activist Pauli Murray threatened to picket Randolph himself. The speech SNCC’s John Lewis initially planned to deliver threatened Catholic support for the march. While Randolph et al ultimately persuaded Lewis to strike the objectionable passage on “patience,” their success came just hours before Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle was scheduled to appear at the rally. Tensions likewise flared on the buses transporting black and white march participants, as many African Americans remained circumspect about their white allies.

The deep coalition Rustin and Randolph forged withstood these and other challenges, as Euchner shows, partly because the organizers sought not mass catharsis—even if the march itself provided participants some emotional release—but specific political remedies to social and economic problems. Indeed, Rustin laid bare the march’s political agenda when he called upon the quarter million participants, immediately following King’s speech, to proclaim their support for: fair employment and housing legislation, desegregation of the schools, job training, implementation of 14th Amendment penalties in states that disenfranchised black voters, and denial of federal funds to discriminatory employers. March organizers, likewise, lobbied Congressmen—Republican Congressman Everett Dirsken chief among them— and President Kennedy to pursue the above legislative agenda.

The spirit of camaraderie, as Euchner concludes, faded with the march’s conclusion. Still, the rally succeeded in achieving many of its objectives, albeit with significant caveats, via the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968 and the War on Poverty. So as the march marks the highpoint of the careers of Randolph and Rustin and is thus punctuated by a kind of sadness, this melancholy was a price for victory.

 

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

114 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Charles Euchner, Nobody Turn Me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington”

BevW February 2nd, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Charlie, Toure, Welcome to the Lake.

Toure, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Thank you both for making this happen.

cherwell February 2nd, 2013 at 1:57 pm

is this salon taking place now?

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Good afternoon and welcome to FDL’s chat with Charles Euchner author of Nobody Turn Me Around: A People’s History of the 1963 March on Washington.

Bev, thanks for inviting me to host this event and Charlie thank you for participating.

cherwell February 2nd, 2013 at 1:58 pm
In response to Charles Euchner @ 2

hi bev and charles. this book is a MUST read vs. a “should” read.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I’m looking forward to this.

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Charlie, I think you can tell from my review that I thought Nobody Turn Me Around was fantastic.

What led you to write a people’s history of the March on Washington?

dakine01 February 2nd, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Good afternoon Charles and Toure and welcome to Firedoglake this afternoon.

Charles, I have not had an opportunity to read your book so forgive me if you address this in there but is it possible or even likely that today’s ‘powers that be’ learned too well the lessons from the March in ’63 such that it would be almost impossible to recreate today? /end tin foil question

I’m a little embarrassed to admit but I was an 11 year old boy that summer and really did not pay much attention to the march. In later years, I have met a few folks who claimed to be there and my freshman year in college, the professor in charge of the weekly Freshman Orientation class walked in one week and turned on a tape recorder of Dr King’s speech then walked out. The speech was moving to listen to, without a doubt.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I was born in Chattanooga in 1960 but my family moved to a suburb of Philadelphia in 1964. Growing up, I always had this gratitude for the movement. I was thankful — as I told Fred Shuttlesworth, one of the key figures in the movement — that I did not growing up feeling I was superior because I was white. And as I got interested in politics, the enormity of this movement’s achievements became staggering to me.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:02 pm

King was an amazing orator. During 1963, he gave an average of one speech a day. And every time he spoke, he made sure to connect the the local circumstances. He wasn;t giving a stump speech, but connecting with people on their own terms.

BevW February 2nd, 2013 at 2:03 pm

As a technical note,
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Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:03 pm

King used “set pieces” — stories and theological passages — that he would weave into his oratory as the circumstances warranted. So he could be polished and extemporaneous at the same time.

cherwell February 2nd, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Charles — you speak of and quote: “‎”Unearned suffering is redemptive.” ~ MLK, Jr. could you please elaborate on how upwards of 400,000 people bore witness to their own suffering and heroism?

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 2:05 pm

The personal connection that you have with the subject really comes through. And, of course, King’s prowess as an orator is very clear in your account.

Having said that, I suspect some readers might be a little surprised by how you approach MLK. Obviously,
when most people think of the MOW, they think of King. Though he looms over the march in your account, King is basically on the periphery. You introduce King in the first chapter and then he slips into the background of your account until the conclusion of the penultimate chapter—when you discuss the “I Have a Dream” speech.

Why did you decide to handle King this way?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:06 pm

When he was on the road, King would always try to seek out small parishes to pay visits. He needed to connect with big-time organizations — big churches, schools, philanthropies, etc. — but wanted to stay in touch with the folks off the beaten path as well.

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Following through with Bev’s technical note, I thought I’d repost this.

The personal connection that you have with the subject really comes through. And, of course, King’s prowess as an orator is very clear in your account.

Having said that, I suspect some readers might be a little surprised by how you approach MLK. Obviously,
when most people think of the MOW, they think of King. Though he looms over the march in your account, King is basically on the periphery. You introduce King in the first chapter and then he slips into the background of your account until the conclusion of the penultimate chapter—when you discuss the “I Have a Dream” speech.

Why did you decide to handle King this way?

BevW February 2nd, 2013 at 2:08 pm

That is so much different than today’s organizers/activists, they go for the media and large gatherings, missing the people they are trying to help.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:09 pm

I think the idea that “unearned suffering is redemptive” is the most important part of King’s speech, the March on Washington, and the whole movement. King was trying to tell his people — and the world — that real change would not happen unless people were willing to suffer for it. He told his people to “go back” to Mississippi, Alabama, etc., and press the battle for civil rights. He warned that many would get attacked and even killed. But he said taking those risks was essential. As James Meredith told me on another occasion, it was a war — and the people on the other side wanted to win, and were willing to do whatever it took. King was being honest — in a way no other public figure I know was — in telling his supporters of the inherent dangers of their work.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:10 pm

King was huge for the March’s legacy. But he was just one member of the Big Ten that organized the event. King actually declined the original invitation to join the March, as did Roy Wilkins of the NAACP and Whitney Young of the National Urban League. King often fell asleep during planning meetings — and no wonder, he was working around the clock, flying all over the country every day.

BevW February 2nd, 2013 at 2:12 pm

As background, how many speakers were there on the platform for the MOW? How long was the event?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:13 pm

The real hero of the March, I think, was Bayard Rustin, whose centennial we just celebrated last year. Rustin was the most important figure in U.S. history, in my opinion, in making nonviolence an effective strategy of change. He was also a labor organizer, a pacifist and later a gay rights activist. He was so critical to all of those movements, in many ways. And he had the job of organizing the march — getting 200,000 people there, setting up the sound system, managing egos, dealing with security, and so on. He was a genius organizer as well as a true intellect.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:14 pm

The march, which took place on August 28, 1963, had two parts. In the morning, there was entertainment at the Washington Monument. People heard figures like harry Belafonte, Burt Lancaster, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, the SNCC Freedom Singers, and many more. In the afternoon, the “main” program featured spokesmen from the 10 sponsor organizations.

RevBev February 2nd, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Can you say something about your work and the research? The complexity and intimacy of the narrative is amazing. I looked at the notes, but I was curious to hear something of your perspective of the writing and research.

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 2:17 pm

As you say above, and this comes through very clearly in the book, King was a major figure within a larger movement. Of course, we do not remember him this way. Most think of King AS the movement.

Does this disposition to equate the 1963 March on Washington, and the civil rights movement in general, with King do the movement a disservice?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Bev, in response to your comment, the real power of the movement — and the March on Washington — was the synergy between the leaders and the followers. The followers often led the leaders — the sit-ins and freedom rides are two excellent examples. People like King really respected young people’s willingness to take big risks to push the movement forward. Sometimes these young people — whom CORE leader James farmer called the “Young Jacobins” — gave the older guys headaches. But that’s what’s got to happen. There need to be dynamism. King often talked about dialectics: thesis-antithesis-sunthesis. The movement embodied this process.

Peterr February 2nd, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I’ve only just started reading the book, but was struck by the parallels between the March and the quadrennial inauguration festivities, especially post-Carter. Reagan moved the site of the inauguration to the west side of the Capital building, thus putting him (and subsequent presidents) looking down the same Mall that was transformed in 1963 by King and the others.

Similarly, the planning as to who will be invited to speak, who will be pleased by this or offended by this, etc., of the recent inauguration sounds much like what you describe in this book.

Having done all the work researching The March, how has it shaped your view of later events on The Mall?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:19 pm

King was amazing, of course. But the movement was always much bigger than him. I think King’s greatest contribution — among so many! — was to integrate so many warring, contradictory, difficult pieces of the movement. He never moved fast enough for the young people, and he moved too fast for establishment figures like Wilkins of the NAACP. But he managed to be radical and moderate, elite and inclusive, open-minded and focused, all at the same time. He embodied the real spirit of the movement. But the movement was much, much bigger than King.

Teddy Partridge February 2nd, 2013 at 2:19 pm

What a remarkable book, and so timely for so many people newly arrived in organizing in the 21st century. Thank you so much for writing it, and for providing an accurate (finally!) representation of the role played by the wonderful Gay Black Hero, Bayard Rustin.

I’m really enjoying reading this book and recommending it to all my activist friends but especially millenials, who don’t know about organizing events before the Internets, the Twitter, the Facebook, the smartphones. And to think Rustin et al. did all this While Black as well.

The Detroit story — of a test run demonstration — is quite instructive, I think. How were the lessons learned then adapted for the unique challenges presented by Washington DC’s higher visibility, different terrain, weather, etc.?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Peter, your question about the inauguration is perfect. There are a lot of similarities. People who planned inauguration festivities said there was no way Rustin could pull of the march in just three months with practically no money., They were in absolute awe that he was able to coordinate a bunch of volunteers in the March headquarters in Harlem — and to get 1500 local churches and civil rights and labor organizations across the country to pitch in as well.

drack37 February 2nd, 2013 at 2:21 pm

TIME FOR ANOTHER PEOPLE’S MARCH ON & OCCUPATION OF WASHINGTON DC.

From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last book of essays,

The Trumpet of Conscience, 1968:

This from “Nonviolence and Social Change”:

” …Of course, by now it is obvious that new laws are not enough. The emergency we now face is economic, and it is a desperate and worsening situation. For the 35 million poor people in America—not even to mention, just yet, the poor in other nations—there is a kind of strangulation in the air. In our society it is murder, psychologically, to deprive a man of a job or an income. You are in substance saying to that man that he has no right to exist. You are in a real way depriving him of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, denying in his case the very creed of his society. Now, millions of people are being strangled that way. The problem is international in scope. And it is getting worse, as the gap between the poor and the ‘affluent society’ increases.

The question that now divides the people who want radically to change that situation is: can a program of nonviolence—even if it envisions massive civil disobedience—realistically expect to deal with such an enormous, entrenched evil?

…I intend to show that nonviolence will be effective, but not until it has achieved the massive dimensions, the disciplined planning, and the intense commitment of a sustained, direct-action movement of civil disobedience on the national scale….

…The only real revolutionary, people say, is a man who has nothing to lose. There are millions of poor people in this country who have very little, or even nothing, to lose. If they can be helped to take action together, they will do so with a freedom and a power that will be a new and unsettling force in our complacent national life.

Beginning in the New Year, we will be recruiting three thousand of the poorest citizens from ten different urban and rural areas to initiate and lead a sustained, massive, direct-action movement in Washington, D.C. Those who choose to join this initial three thousand, this nonviolent army, this ‘freedom church’ of the poor, will work with us for three months to develop nonviolent action skills. Then we will move on Washington, determined to stay there until the legislative and executive branches of the government take serious and adequate action on jobs and income.

A delegation of poor people can walk into a high official’s office with a carefully, collectively prepared list of demands. (If you’re poor, if you’re unemployed anyway, you can choose to stay in Washington as long as the struggle needs you.) And if that official says, ‘But Congress would have to approve this,’ or, ‘But the President would have to be consulted on that,’ you can say, ‘All right, we’ll wait.’ And you can settle down in his office for as long a stay as necessary.

If you are, let’s say, from rural Mississippi, and have never had medical attention, and your children are undernourished and unhealthy, you can take those little children into the Washington hospitals and stay with them there until the medical workers cope with their needs, and in showing it your children, you will have shown this country a sight that will make it stop in its busy tracks and think hard about what it has done.

The many people who will come and join this three thousand, from all groups in the country’s life, will play a supportive role, deciding to be poor for a time along with the dispossessed who are asking for their right to jobs or income—jobs, income, the demolition of slums, and the rebuilding by the people who live there of new communities in their place; in fact, a new economic deal for the poor.

…I have said that the problem, the crisis we face, is international in scope. In fact, it is inseparable from an international emergency that involves the poor, the dispossessed, and the exploited of the whole world.

Can a nonviolent, direct-action movement find application on the international level, to confront economic and political problems? I believe it can. It is clear to me that the next stage of the movement is to become international.

National movements within the developed countries—forces that focus on London, or Paris, or Washington, or Ottawa—must help to make it politically feasible for their governments to undertake the kind of massive aid that the developing countries need if they are to break the chains of poverty. We in the West must bear in mind that the poor countries are poor primarily because we have exploited them through political or economic colonialism. Americans in particular must help their nation repent of her modern economic imperialism.

But movements in our countries alone will not be enough….So many of Latin America’s problems have roots in the United States of America that we need to form a solid, united movement, nonviolently conceived and carried through, so that pressure can be brought to bear on the capital and government power structures concerned, from both sides of the problem at once. I think that may be the only hope for a nonviolent solution in Latin America today; and one of the most powerful expressions of nonviolence may come out of that international coalition of socially aware forces, operating outside governmental frameworks.

…In practice, such a decision would represent such a major reordering of priorities that we should not expect that any movement could bring it about in one year or two. Indeed, although it is obvious that nonviolent movements for social change must internationalize, because of the interlocking nature of the problems they all face, and because otherwise those problems will breed war, we have hardly begun to build the skills and the strategy, or even the commitment, to planetize our movement for social justice.

…In this world, nonviolence is no longer an option for intellectual analysis: it is an imperative for action.”

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Picking up on Teddy’s point, would you elaborate on Rustin’s place within the civil rights movement Charles?

dakine01 February 2nd, 2013 at 2:23 pm

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Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:24 pm

The Detroit “trial run” was important for its peaceableness. The movement’s labor friends — mostly Walter Reuther of the UAW – -and the churches were able to turn out a crowd of 100,000 for the Detroit March. And King used the line about the dream in that rally. There were, of course, no incidents. That’s what people were worrying about — violence. The Detroit march offered at least a little assurance that you could get a huge group of people to rally for civil rights and it would stay peaceful. By the way, a minister’s daughter in Detroit — Aretha Franklin — spoke at that Detroit gathering.

Peterr February 2nd, 2013 at 2:25 pm

The Civil Rights movement was a mystery to many in the establishment, where the absence of money means the absence of movement. The Civil Rights community was also predominantly a community of folks well accustomed to being creative with their more limited funds, to get the most out of them.

Working with volunteers has its drawbacks, but enthusiasm and willingness to work is not usually among them.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Regarding the prospects for nonviolent action today: Not only can nonviolence be a part of the solution, it is the essential element. You see, nonviolence is the only intelligent means of agitation. There’s a guy named Gene Sharp in Boston who has developed a detailed analysis of nonviolent action throughout history. He argues that real change only cones from nonviolence. War destroys so much on both sides — and favors the heavily armed party. I think an essential part of our foreign policy has to be support for nonviolent direct action. We sometimes think it’s not “practical” or “realistic.” But it’s both practical and realistic — much more so than violence.

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Your focus on the organizers will likely be revelatory for many students, as people tend to focus on both the glamorous and ugly images—the speeches, the picketing, the singing, the attack dogs, etc— associated with the civil rights movement without giving much thought to the ever important politics behind the protest.

I suspect many will be especially surprised by the challenges posed by “personal politics.”

The NAACP’s Roy Wilkins, for example, comes across as an especially… irascible figure.

Though I mention the Rustin-Wilkins dustup in my review, I found Wilkins’s response to the news of DuBois’s passing especially striking.

Would you mind elaborating on this for those who haven’t read the book?

BevW February 2nd, 2013 at 2:31 pm
Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Regarding Rustin’s place in the movement: Rustin grew up in a Quaker community — West Chester, Pennsylvania — and the values and intelligence of nonviolence was part of his fiber. Rustin started out as a labor organizer and quickly He was one of the organizers of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1942 and the organizer of freedom rides in the early 40s. He also helped Philip Randolph organize the March on Washington in 1941 — a march that was called off when FDR agreed to issue an executive order banning discrimination in wartime industries — the biggest civil rights victory since Reconstruction. In 1956, Rustin advised King during the Montgomery Bus Boycott. He lived in King’s basement at times, wrote speeches, developed strategy, even write and performed songs for the nightly church meetings. Most important, he taught King about the importance of making nonvioelnce the absolute DNA of the movement. A lot of nonviolent people believed that it was OK to use violence on occasion. King had guns in his house and armed guards on his porch … until Rustin convinced him that it was contradictory and made things even more dangerous.

Teddy Partridge February 2nd, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Can you talk about how the signage was monitored? That seems to be something that goes awry in all demonstrations nowadays — there’s always somebody making an idiot of themselves in order to get in the papers, or online more likely. How did March organizers deal with the “it’s my free speech!” attitude today’s demonstrators bring to the streets?

adrp February 2nd, 2013 at 2:34 pm

As a writer, how does one logistically go about gathering the appropriate evidence for a bottom up account of such a massive demonstration? You cannot possibly gather accounts from everyone and traditionally writers often gloss over the subtle interactions and tensions that arose in this era. How do you avoid these pitfalls?

Peterr February 2nd, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Charles, I read with great interest the information about how the media covered the leadup to the March. The vignette about Roger Mudd being so concerned about both the technical aspects of the coverage (will there be technical glitches?) and the unpredictability of the event (worst case scenario: covering a race riot) that he threw up in the bushes gives the narrative a sense of the ordinary humanity of the individual people involved.

Were there other stories on the media side that you had to leave out of the book for reasons of space?

Teddy Partridge February 2nd, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Was Rustin a partnered man? Was this a problem for organizers? Or was his lack of being partnered equally bothersome — the “promiscuous” label still attached to heroes like Harvey Milk, for instance?

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Given Rustin’s importance to the movement, why do you think Rustin has become one of the civil rights movement’s unsung heroes? Historians and social scientists know him but most people are unaware of him.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Roy Wilkins, Toure, was a huge figure in the movement. As head of the NAACP, he played a big role in the Brown decision and other legal strategies. He also forged alliances with white liberals, philanthropies, and so on. And remember the NAACP was banned in some southern states. So he was a substantial figure. But he was wary of protest as a strategy. And he could be prickly. He once challenged King. How many people have you freed with your strategy, he once asked King pointedly. Well, king said, I may have freed a few souls. Wilkins resented, somewhat anyway, King’s fast rise to the top. He Wilkins was, laboring away on the hard work of civil rights, and this young man becomes an international icon! Imagine the resentment. But Wilkins made many important contributions as well. Truth is, the movement need all of these personalities and abilities.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:38 pm

About Rustin’s homosexuality: That hurt him many times. In 1960 he and King planned protests at the two party conventions. But when Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell threatened to out King and Rustin as gay lovers — an absurdity if there ever was one — King got cold feet and dropped plans. Anyway, Rustin had a varied love life. He could be committed but he also played around.

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 2:39 pm

If you have the book there’s some discussion of signage policing between pages 110 to 112. It’s the discussion of Jimmy Pruitt’s unauthorized sign.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Regarding the signage: The UAW made all the signs. The March committee decided what slogans to approve and what to disapprove. People carrying homemade signs were asked to put them away. Rachelle Horowitz, who coordinated the transportation for the March, says she and other March staffers would dream up slogans and type them up and they’d go off to the Big Ten for approval.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I interviewed 120 or so people who were part of the March, in one way or another. These people had great memories; these events got burned into their brains. I cross-referenced their observations as much as possible. I also tracked down every possible written document — letters, notes, minutes, first-hand descriptions, etc. I tried to track down lots of stuff that didn’t pan out. For example, there was a young woman from Africa who told an interviewer for a researcher about the attitudes of her classmates at Catholic University. I finally tracked down her nephew and she answered my questions … but, alas, it wasn’t very interesting! Lots of leads don;t pan out. But the people who took part in this were amazing, from the platform of the speakers down to the ordinary folks on the mall. They had lots of rich stories to tell.

Teddy Partridge February 2nd, 2013 at 2:44 pm
In response to Toure F. Reed @ 46

Thank you, I do have it but have not got that far; this damn cold puts me to sleep!

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Speaking of labor Charlie, I really like the way you discuss the union movement’s connection to the march. Your discussion of Walter Reuther and UAW’s involvement in the rally, for example, complicates the current tendency to simply cast labor as antagonistic to black rights.

Your discussion of the rift between Walter Reuther/UAW and George Meany/AFL-CIO is very good in this regard.

Would you elaborate on why Reuther was willing to support the march over Meany’s objections?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Re the media: To me the most interesting thing was that the March was the first major news event televised live all over the world via satellite. That upped the stakes in the event. The Soviet Union televised the early part of the march, hoping for violence. But the violence never happened so the Soviets cut away for their usual stale propaganda programming!

Teddy Partridge February 2nd, 2013 at 2:46 pm

That, again, sounds so easy today but imagine the wo/manpower required in the mid-sixties in order to make that happen. It’s hard to envision a world without FAC machines, copy machines, and touchtone phones, let along no computers etc.

They were really miracle workers, all of them.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I watched the live CBS cover at the Museum of TV and Radio (now the Paley Center). Amazing stuff. Unfiltered for the most part. I also listed to the live radio coverage, which is now available on the site of WGBH in Boston.

cherwell February 2nd, 2013 at 2:47 pm

NTMA is filled with stories of the average, everyday people that provide new meaning to hero. your book also depicts the opposition to the march by President Kennedy and the Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy. there is a marvelous story about a young activist who gave a verbal lesson to RFK. could you please comment?

Teddy Partridge February 2nd, 2013 at 2:47 pm

So our FBI wasn’t the only world’s policeman hoping for the March to descend into violence to further their own ends?

RevBev February 2nd, 2013 at 2:49 pm

I was very interested in the portrayal of both of the Kennedys. Did you
come to any conclusions about what may have been different in the long run had JFK not been shot?

tejanarusa February 2nd, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Wasn’t Rustin more or less deliberately kept in the background to avoid the scandal that was feared if he were more prominent?

I was a young teenager in 1963; I certainly heard of Bayard Rustin, but much more of Wilkins, King, SNCC, and SCLC. Of course, as a kid in the north not part of the movemenet, I had no idea of his sexuality until years, no, decades, later.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Labor was split on civil rights. On one side was George Meany, the head of the AFL-CIO; on the other side was Walter Reuther of the UAW. Auto workers were more progressive, as a whole. They lived in the liberal wonderland of Detroit, where blacks were more integrated than in other locations. Reuther was great friends with King as well. Meany was suspicious of the movement and believed a lot of the stuff about Communist infiltration into the movement. On the March, he also feared violence. Meany and Reuther both vied for President Kennedy’s attention. So part of the split was simply wanting to present something different to people in power, as well as the differences in their constituencies.

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Well I’m glad it’s not the flu!

The Pruitt story is really moving. I won’t spoil it for you but the Pruitt case highlights the brutality of the southern Jim Crow regimes (Mississippi in Pruitt’s case) as well as the sophistication and sensitivity of the organizers themselves when it came to the matter of addressing the potential problems posed by unauthorized signs.

tejanarusa February 2nd, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Do you mind if I ask your age? Do you feel like this book is aimed at younger people (well,younger than me!), say under 40′s, who’ve received a distorted picture of the movement?
There are ceretainly many books about the movement, memoirs by participants, but most were published some time ago. I worry that the image of Dr. King himself has become too frozen, too idealized, and that people too young to remember those times don’t realize what a multi-faceted man he was, let alone how radical his positions were on so many issues.
As you said, this march had purposes, such as addressing unemployment; it wasn’t just some feel-good gathering on the Mall, which is how it sometimes seems to be portrayed. A book like yours is probably very necessary.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 2:57 pm

In May of 1963, the author James Baldwin ran into Robert Kennedy and told him the black community extremely pained and angered by the Kennedy Administration’s slow pace in civil rights. RFK said, OK, set up a meeting. So Baldwin and lots of other key black intellectuals (Ken Clark, Lorraine Hansberry, Lena Horne, Harry Belafonte, Clarence Jones) went to Kennedy’s New York apartment for a talk. They also invited a young man named Jerome Smith. Smith spoke early and said: Mr. Attorney General, you make me want to puke. He said he would not fight for the U.S. in a war with Cuba. kennedy was shocked and looked to the older black figures for support. But they all backed Smith. The group met for upwards of three hours. Afterward, both Baldwin and kennedy were shaken up. baldwin couldn’t understand how blind and callous kennedy was; Kennedy couldn’t understand how impertinent Smith had been. But the meeting had a big impact on Kennedy. Shortly afterward, President Kennedy announced his boldest move as president — the most ambitious civil rights bill since Reconstruction. People close to RFK have told me that that meeting had a huge impact on Kennedy.

Teddy Partridge February 2nd, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Was one of them being fed more of JEHoover’s FBI counterintelligence scandal claptrap than the other, I wonder?

How did law enforcement work with the organizers? I mean, the federal police (FBI) had as settled policy that King et al. were organizing to take down the federal government, so what protections were afforded the organizers and speakers?

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 2:58 pm
In response to tejanarusa @ 57

Rustin was APR’s deputy. Rustin service as Randolph’s deputy, rather than official head of the rally, did not prevent opponents of the march such as Strom Thurmond from attempting to discredit the rally by pointing to Rustin’s affiliation with it. I believe the discussion of Thurmond and the matter of Bayard Rustin can be found pp. 114-117.

tejanarusa February 2nd, 2013 at 3:01 pm
In response to Toure F. Reed @ 63

Thurmond, hmm?Interesting. (I was in a bookstore yesterday and did not see your book. Guess I’ll have to look for it very specifically). Do you kknow of any distribution problems,now that bookstores are selling more calendars and puzzles than books?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:01 pm

About Kennedy’s assassination: No doubt, Lyndon Johnson had a lot more political capital that he could use to push civil rights after Kennedy was killed. No doubt, he used it. But here’s the point: The movement made LBJ’s embrace of civil rights possible. No movement, no civil rights law, no matter how committed Johnson is or how much national unity there was after Kennedy’s murder. Think of it this way: Kennedy’s assassination was a “black swan” even — a term of Nassim Nicholas Taleb to huge, unpredictable events that shake the world to its foundations. The key to success in a volatile world, as Taleb argues in his new book “Antifragile,” is to be ready to handle anything. The civil rights movement was ready for anything. It was a protean movement. Yes, JFK’s assassination “helped” (a terrible word to use for such a tragedy) but I think the movement was pushing so hard and so intelligently and courageously that success would have come no matter who was president.

RevBev February 2nd, 2013 at 3:02 pm

You also mentioned Will Campbell….did you interview him?

Teddy Partridge February 2nd, 2013 at 3:02 pm

RFK had the ability, unique to US politicians of his era and since, to integrate new thoughts and perspectives into his views. Probably due to tragedies, but somewhat before that too, he was able to respond positively to stimuli that even he, but certainly other politicians, initially would take offense to. The idea that RFK would think another’s attitude “impertinent” is really kind of funny when we think back on his whole history, but he had a long streak of insecurity in his AG job, not at all helped by his brother saying when he nominated him that we needed to get Bobby some experience in the law before he went into private practice, or something along those lines.

The man worked in long shadows cast by his brother and his father, so it’s to his credit that he could be turned around by such a presentation, in his own home, at so critical a concept to him as War On Cuba.

What happened to Jerome Smith?

tejanarusa February 2nd, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Yes,Teddy,that’s a major reason I admire RFK, for all his flaws. I believe the RFK who ran for president was pretty different from the RFK of 1960.

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 3:05 pm
In response to tejanarusa @ 64

If you’re talking about my book as opposed to Charlie’s you can find it on Amazon pretty cheap last I checked.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Rev Bev: Regarding the complexities of writing this book: I started out doing two things: collecting stories from people who were there and doing all the necessary background research (books, articles, archives, tapes, etc.). Once I collected all this stuff I decided to write a number of scenes, the way a novelist would. I wanted the reader to see and feel what was happening. But, of course, scenes alone will not tell a story completely. So then I had to construct background “briefings” about, for example, the recent history of civil rights bills, the Kennedys, J,. Edgar Hoover, the explosion of demonstrations after Birmingham in the spring of 1963, and so on. If you look again, the book moves back and forth from scene to summary. In my seminars on writing, I call this “yo-yoing.” All good stories (and art) move back and forth from action that engages the whole body to background that allows you to recover and collect your thoughts.

Tammany Tiger February 2nd, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Mr. Euchner, I look forward to reading your book. I live in the Detroit area, and our town’s public library currently has on display an exhibit about the June 1963 Detroit march. One of the photos shows the front row of marchers, which included UAW head Walter Reuther.

Many years ago, before WJR-AM became a right-wing station, it was Detroit’s “radio station of record.” The station’s morning host, J.P. McCarthy, frequently alluded to the Detroit march and played excerpts from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech given at Cobo Arena.

RevBev February 2nd, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Thanks for the explanation….it is really a wonderful read. Ive rec. it
to my daughter for her to understand the times she did not live through.
Thank you.

BevW February 2nd, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Charlie’s book – Nobody Turn Me Around (Amazon)

tejanarusa February 2nd, 2013 at 3:09 pm
In response to Toure F. Reed @ 69

It wasn’t price so much as the absence of the book on new books, or history books display. I know display is affected by publishers’ willingness to pay the chain store for space, but that space seems to be shrinking, too. I would have expected to see this book…esp. since we’re about to start “Black History Month.”

I did just check my library and they have several copies; disappointed to see they are all available, though. Need more publicity!

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Hi, Tejanarusa: I am (gulp) 52. The book is aimed at everyone interested in the most amazing story of American politics in the last century. I wanted to show that the movement was comprised of hundreds of thousands of ordinary people like you and me. I wanted to show how true leadership — as offered by Randolph, Rustin, King, Wilkins, Farmer, and finally the Kennedys — can really make a difference. I wanted to show that we are all fallible, even the great King. It is that fallibility, I think, that enables them to be great. Greatness comes from overcoming not just outside foes but also your own limitations. This is a timeless story. I just wrote it.

tejanarusa February 2nd, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Oh, so not a kid yourself! (just joking, you are younger than I or someothers of us here).

Your stated purpose is a good one…too often people are so discouraged that they believe one person, or a few people,cannot make a difference.

And I think historical events do need reassessment after more time has passed. I’ll try to get your book mentioned around, especially for the younger ones who don’t know all this.

adrp February 2nd, 2013 at 3:13 pm

So who would you say is your intended audience? Do you look at this work as something to reach the masses? Is it intended to reach a Howard Zinn-esque audience?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Bayard Rustin — and others, including Walter Fauntroy, the D.C. organizer — worked closely with Washington police, the U.S. Parks Service, and the Justice Department on security. Rustin was a practical man and agreed to change some logistics to make the march work. For example, the marchers originally wanted to march down Pennsylvania Avenue, which could not have worked with the kind of crowds they got. So Rustin said, OK, we’ll march a different route. many of the marchers wanted to occupy offices on Capitol Hill. No can do, said the DC police and Parks people. So Rustin said, OK, we’ll keep it on the mall. many of Rustin’s volunteers hated these compromises. But Rustin reminded them that the point was to show the world the righteousness of the movement, in huge numbers. The particulars mattered less than putting on a huge demonstrations and delivering a powerful message, speaking loudly with one voice.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Hey, Rev Bev: Are you Beverly Asbury, the former chaplain of Vanderbilt?

Peterr February 2nd, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Charles, what stories surprised you the most, in your research on the book?

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 3:15 pm
In response to tejanarusa @ 74

LOL! No worries on my end.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Regarding Will Campbell: Yes I interviewed him at his =home in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. My journalism advisor at Vanderbilt, Jim Leeson, knew him well and introduced him to me in the 1980s when I was writing a magazine article about the Klan. And Jim connected me with Will again when I did research for this book. He is a delight — no one like I’ve ever met before or since.

RevBev February 2nd, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Oh, No, Im not. Im in Austin, and I am a Chaplain.
And, I loved your book.

tejanarusa February 2nd, 2013 at 3:18 pm

This has been great. Probably would not have known about the book without this Book salon. Have to run, but thanks for coming and talking with us, both our host and author.

RevBev February 2nd, 2013 at 3:18 pm

What magazine had your klan article?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Re James Pruitt: He was a young man who demonstrated in Mississippi and who spent almost two months at the notorious Parchman Prison, stripped naked for most of that time, barely given anything to eat, almost died of heat exhaustion. He marched carrying his own sign. One of the security people told him he could not carry an unapproved sign. At the urging of others from his delegation, he showed the security honcho a note detailing his treatment. The honcho said: Let the kid carry his own sign, for Pete’s sake.

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 3:20 pm
In response to tejanarusa @ 84

THanks for joining us!

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The Klan article was in the a student magazine at Vanderbilt called Versus.

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 3:21 pm

The Pruitt story is one of my favorites.

Teddy Partridge February 2nd, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Is there any indication the FBI worked actively to undermine the March?

And, did you think about an audience of young people organizing today, in sketching out your brief for this book? I think it would be simply irreplaceable as a touchstone for organizers in the current environment. There’s so much here about how to work with/around authority, how to move masses of people, how to mainstream the message and simplify the statement being made.

So much for current activists to learn here! (Buy this book, organizers! You need to read it.)

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:22 pm

I wasn’t really surprised by any story, per se. But every time I talked with someone I was carried away emotionally like I’d never been before. I was so overwhelmed by the basic decency and courage of these wonderful people who did so much to end the formal regime of racism. It is really a priceless gift that they gave us. And they gave it to us in so many ways — some dramatic, some ordinary. Honestly, despite the problems we have in this country now, they pale next to what they would be if we lived under the legal system of apartheid that existed in the U.S. until the 1960s.

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 3:22 pm
In response to Toure F. Reed @ 89

The story of Bus 10 was really interesting as well.

RevBev February 2nd, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Did you have some conclusions about the place of women? Obviously,
there were some stars. But so many of the roles were as “extras.”
How would you describe the treatment?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Regarding the “Howard Zinnesque audience” question: No, it’s not aimed at the Zinn crowd, though I hope they know it and appreciate it. I really don’t have an ax to grind here. I think history is complicated. We can only understand it by looking at the ordinary people who make history every day AND the people with more powerful roles. I am reminded of a profound statement that James Meredith made to me: It was a war. Some people were on one side and others were on the other side. As Lincoln said, in his second inaugural address: Both sides pray to the same gods. We need to find a way to treat these stories as complicated events. That was my goal.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Regarding the FBI: Make no mistake, J. Edgar Hoover hated King and wanted to destroy him. He has been eavesdropping on his conversations for a long time (through wiretaps of other people) and amped up his efforts after the march. The Justice Department knew it couldn’t depend on the FBI and so developed its own system for tracking events in the movement. Hoover’s war on King got a lot hotter after the March but he was already intent on marginalizing King at least.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Regarding the need for a guidebook for today’s organizers: Yep, it’s a good idea. I’d love to do something like that. And this March is an ideal case study, mostly because of Rustin’s genius.

Isabel February 2nd, 2013 at 3:31 pm

Did you learn anything particularly surprising about the Rev. King in your research?

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Charlie, I have a couple questions with contemporary implications for you. Here’s the first.

Sometime after the rally’s conclusion, Rustin said something to the effect that the passage of landmark civil rights legislation (CR Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965) marked the transition from protest to interest group/bargaining politics. So the direct action stage of the movement was essentially over.

For those of us interested in progressive politics, what are the possibilities for a new civil rights movement today?

Naturally, I’ll ask the second if time permits.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Rev Bev: Regarding women, yes, the movement was at times sexist. It was a different time and place. See: “Mad Men.” It’s outrageous by our standards that women did not get major speaking roles. After all, women played like Rosa Parks, Anna Hedgman, Casey Hayden, Daisy Bates, Diane Bevel, and Gloria Richardson — played absolutely critical roles. What’s important is that the message of civil rights is universal. So other groups — women, farm workers, gays, and so on — can use the ideals of the civil rights movement to forge their own causes.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Isabel, regarding surprises about Dr. King: I was amazed by this man’s ability to learn, constantly, throughout his life. Most of us develop our ways and philosophies of living early in adulthood and pretty much stay with it the rest of the way. King had his principles — Christian love and nonviolence — but was so open to new ways of understanding and applying these principles. Toward the end of his life, King took on America’s involvement in Vietnam and voracious war machine. That cost him dearly with many liberal allies, including, of course, President Johnson. But King felt he had to go where the facts and logic of the situation led him. King had an intellectual and spiritual largeness that amazes me.

Peterr February 2nd, 2013 at 3:39 pm

The focus on the ordinary also changes the way readers enter your story.

Ordinary people who read a book about the March that focuses solely on the big name participants often end up as observers. These same folks who read a book like this find themselves not observers at a distance, but almost participants along the way. A good story unfolds for a reader; a great story draws the reader into it.

Perhaps this is why, even though you knew the stories of the folks you interviewed, you were “carried away emotionally” by the accounts they gave you.

This is a great story, and very well told. Thanks for putting it together.

Isabel February 2nd, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I was especially moved by the Prologue account of the teenage boys who set out on foot from Alabama to attend the March. Being a mother of teenagers myself, I can’t imagine letting kids do this. Was this an example of the tremendous faith people had in the movement at the time?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Isabel, thanks for the question about the three Gadsden boys who hitchhiked to the March: They were active in the movement all year, and Gadsden protests sometimes turned really violent. (That’s where the infamous use of cattle prods began.) So these guys had battle scars already. And they were excited by the movement. They desperately wanted to be in the middle of the action. They had to work hard to convince one of their parents to let them go, but all parents gave their blessings. And so they started walking … right past the spot where a white postal worker marching for civil rights was shot dead. They caught rides to Washington, got there a week early, and worked on making signs. They got a visit from Dr. King and Rustin gave them money for the bus ride home. The book opens with this story. I called it “The Longest March.” To me it symbolized everything that made the movement great.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Peter, thank you for your comment about the focus on ordinary people in the march. I appreciate it a lot. I think you’re right. I could really feel myself in the crowd — or in the streets or in the march headquarters — when I talked with them. They made the movement real for me. King and Rustin and Randolph and other other leaders did too. Ordinary people made the movement, then the movement made us.

adrp February 2nd, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Do you think that our culture’s idea of seeing the Civil Rights Movement as an inevitability has affected how we view and act about struggles for civil rights of other groups in the United States? Do we take it for granted that “sooner or later” these groups will win their rights?

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Re viewing the victory of civil rights as an inevitability: That’s a problem. Nothing is inevitable. History often turns on small things. We need to do everything possible to prepare for everything that might happen. The civil rights heroes did just that. They created a movement so smart and agile and creative and open that it could take advantage of opportunities when they arose. Remember Pasteur’s statement: “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 3:49 pm

The question by ADRP is a good one and relates to a question I asked a while back that may have been lost in the mix. In case it did, I’ve pasted it below.

After the march, Rustin indicated that the passage of landmark legislation (CR Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965) marked the transition from protest to interest group/bargaining politics.
For those interested in progressive politics, what are the possibilities for a new civil rights movement today?

BevW February 2nd, 2013 at 3:52 pm

As we come to the end of this great Book Salon discussion,

Charlie, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book, and the March on Washington.

Tourè, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Charlie’s website (The Writing Code) and book (Nobody Turn Me Around)

Tourè’s website (Illinois State University) and books

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow: Hedrick Smith (Pulitzer Prize, Emmy Award) / Who Stole the American Dream?; Hosted by Ariadne Allen Autor

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

FDL Book Salon has a Facebook page too.

RevBev February 2nd, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Thanks for the discussion and an incredible book….not to be forgot.

Toure F. Reed February 2nd, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Thanks Bev and Charlie.

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Regarding the possibilities for a new civil rights movement, let me start with some observations Bayard Rustin made after the march. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, he said, brought to a close the civil rights movement based on protest. With blacks now full citizens, legally anyway, the movement shifted from an uncompromising demand style of politics and toward a process of negotiations and bargaining with all the other interest groups in the American system. In the ensuing years, starting with the Great Society, we have developed a vast infrastructure that never existed before to deal with social issues: on education, nutrition, housing, safety, training, on and on. That’s all part of our vast welfare state. That’s great, in my mind, anyway. The problem is that bargaining can obscure fundamental issues. Now I think we need a new wave of principled, uncompromising, demand-oriented politics. What might that look like? I’m not sure, but I’d like to imagine free choice for education opportunity. Nothing matters more than education, but we’re stuck in an 18th-century paradigm of schools. Everyone — every last one of us — deserves a great education. We should not put up with second-best, no matter where we are. But there are lots of interest groups vested in the current system. We need a universal cry for universal excellence and total choice. Rich people get it. Why shouldn’t all of us get it? (He climbs down from soapbox…)

Charles Euchner February 2nd, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Thank you all! What a pleasure to spend time with such an educated and soulful group!

RevBev February 2nd, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Thank you….Come back to see us….really great stuff.

Teddy Partridge February 2nd, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Thanks to one and all for a delightful, deep, insightful conversation.

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