Sunday, September 1, 2013

The March's 50th

All morning I was undecided about whether I'd go to the 50th anniversary March on Washington...the forecast called for rain, I had work to do, did I really feel like being in a big crowd, etc, etc. Around 1pm as the keynote speakers were getting started I came to my senses, borrowed a colleague's umbrella and off I went. 

Given the rain and that the celebration fell mid-week I thought I had a decent chance of getting fairly close to the Lincoln Memorial even with a late start.

Boy was I wrong.

What I hadn't factored into the equation was the security industrial complex, i.e. a single entrance with the now commonplace cattle line for metal detectors and bag checks (echoes of the Purple Tunnel of Doom). It says something about how far we've regressed that it takes 1.5 hours to get through security for the commemoration of a non-violent protest. The Secret Service dropped the ball on this one. Sad.

The speaker system was sub-par (was that Pres. Clinton speaking?), the jumbotrons were MIA back near the Washington Monument, and I was certain there wasn't enough time to get through security prior to President Obama's speech.  So I called it quits and returned to my office, a bit soggier than when I left, and watched the remainder of the commemoration on my computer. 

It was nice to be there for awhile but the crowd didn't have the same joyous feel as for Obama's 2013 or 2009 inauguration, the Million Man March, or the 25th anniversary of the March. Perhaps it was different past security or maybe it was the rain that put a damper on things. Regardless, I'm glad I went and very thankful for the original March on Washington and all that Dr. King and others sacrificed for this country.

A few related odds and ends...

A pdf of an organizing manual for the March on Washington.  Makes for an interesting read...

Another good speech by President Obama...

And lastly, I'd been wondering why this has shown up on my prior postings of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech...

Now I know.

From the Washington Post...
Fifty years ago this week, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech. But in coverage of events celebrating its anniversary, the entirety of King’s address will rarely be reprinted, if at all, nor will viewers see footage of his speech delivered in full. 
A few months after King delivered the speech, he sent a copy of the address to the U.S. Copyright office and listed the remarks as a “work not reproduced for sale.” He subsequently sued to enjoin two publishers from distributing phonographic reproductions of the address. One of the defendants, 20th Century Fox, had filmed and broadcast all of the speeches at the March on Washington at the request of the march’s organizers. From that material, it had reproduced the phonographs that were the subject of the injunction. But a court ruled that, although King had addressed a large public audience in an unrestricted public forum, reproduction without authorization was an infringement of King’s copyright 
Since 1963, King and, posthumously, his estate have strictly enforced control over use of that speech and King’s likeness. A few years ago, the estate received more than $700,000 from the nonprofit foundation that created and built the monument to King on the Mall in order to use his words and image. The only legal way to reproduce King’s work — at least until it enters the public domain in 2038 — is to pay for a licensing fee, rates for which vary.

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