My review:  Los Angeles Freedom Rally, 1963


cover photo.  courtesy of CAAM and Harry Adams collection

Exhibit handout. Courtesy of CAAM

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

lamarch1963

 


Group photo of those who attended presentation. Photo courtesy of Tyree Boyd-Pates and Taylor Bythewood-Porter

To listen to the full speech CLICK HERE

 


 

EastCoast Trek v2018 – District of Columbia


Approximately ten years ago we were able to adjust our schedule to allow for a trek to D.C.  We picked the last week in August to commemorate and pay homage to the March on Washington.  Each trek allows us to visit usual sites and reconnect with friends and over the years we seek out new venues to add to our journey.  During our five-day stay here are several of the sites we visited.


March on Washington Commemoration

 

Commemorative March on Washington button used as fund-raiser to generate funding for march operations

Even though the original event was held at the Lincoln Memorial, ever since the MLK memorial was erected activities have shifted there.


Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History & Culture

The NMAAHC continues to be a jewel at the national mall.  This year our focus was visiting the new Oprah Winfrey exhibit as well as witness the musical rendition commemorating the murder of Emmett Till.

The Obama’s

We added to new venue to this year’s trek; seeing the portraits of President Obama and First Lady Michelle at the National Portrait Gallery

The Obama’s left the White House in January 2017, so this year we added a visit to see their new residence.  Due to high security you will not be able to walk down the street but it is located in the Northwest section of the District.  The street on Belmont Road is one way and barricaded.   If you are familiar with the Dupont Circle neighborhood, it is northwest (lots of embassies and larger properties).  Of course, there is secret service on watch to ensure privacy


Anacostia

Anacostia is located in what is known as Southeast.  The Anacostia river separates the main part of the District and this area.  Many who visit the District miss visiting this community for various reasons.  It is stigmatized due to it’s poverty and resulting criminal activity but for those who truly seek hidden jewels, even that will not stop them for trekking through the community.

 

The Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum has an outstanding exhibit to help you better understand how communities all over the District were transformed following de-segregation.


Barry Farms is a historic part of Anacostia where African-Americans took up residence.  Although much of the community has fallen on hard times and can see some tough images or extreme poverty, there are still many historic sites you can see.  The biggest issue is feeling safe as you venture throughout the community, so while people are people it is not the type of place you just wander about without precautions or maintaining common-sense.

 

Inside the Barry Farms community is the legendary Goodman leagues outdoor basketball complex.  It is world-renowned for its fierce competition featuring some of the best hoop action in the region.  Many professional basketball players (those currently playing or those retired or no longer playing) make this a regular stop to mix-it up with regular neighborhood stars.