cover photo. courtesy of CAAM and Harry Adams collection
The United States civil rights movement escalated with the 1955 murder of young Emmett Till. It was during that time the Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became the leader. Fast forward to 1963 as the iconic March on Washington earned its place in the annals of world history. Through that event Dr. King’s reputation became cemented as he displayed his oratorical gift.
May 26, 1963
As great as the March on Washington was you must go back to May 26, 1963 to understand a cornerstone of how a rally in Los Angeles generated the success it did. Through the California African-American Museum (CAAM), historians and curators Tyree Boyd-Pates and Taylor Bythewood-Porter have created a “must-see” exhibit that underscores the little-known fact of how it was a critical complement to the March on Washington and why that date has historical significance.
Wrigley Field, Los Angeles
Titled, “Los Angeles Freedom Rally, 1963 “the exhibit highlights how Dr. King came to Wrigley Field in Los Angeles and stirred the crowd of 35,000 who came to hear him share why the movement needed their support. 1963 was a critical year. In Birmingham, AL Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor had unleashed a direct assault against the movement. Peaceful protestor’s were being locked up and given unreasonable bail amounts. Contrary to history, some have accepted the notion about Dr. King not being willing to go the jail? However, the facts are much different as it was agreed Dr. King could do more out of jail, than in jail. Thus, his time was spent traveling to various cities to raise funds needed to combat the malicious bail amounts rendered by the likes of Connor. It was that reason Los Angeles was a target for him to visit and make an appeal. The residents of Los Angeles responded and the rest is history as their support helped fuel the issue of providing money to get folk out of jail, and also helped undergird the funding needed for the eventual March on Washington.
Boyd-Pates and Bythewood-Porter have assembled a must-see exhibit. It runs through runs until March 3, 2019. Click BELOW to obtain the handout
To listen to the full speech CLICK HERE