Albany honors 60th anniversary of March on Washington with a reenactment

With just two short days away from the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, the people of Albany are honoring this day with a march of their own.
Published: Aug. 26, 2023 at 6:29 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - What does Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech mean to you?

With just two days away from the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, the people of Albany are honoring this day with a march of their own.

Remembrance was on the mind of everyone who came out on Saturday to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of civil rights, equality and access to jobs for Black people in the United States. One woman who was there in August 1963 says she was inspired by what she saw at Saturday’s reenactment.

“It was an awesome experience from the beginning to the end. We spoke at cocktail parties anywhere. They had a gathering of people, dinner parties and we were telling them about laying our experience here in Albany, in the civil rights movement,” Patricia Slade, who attended the March on Washington in 1963, said.

The march began behind the Albany Civic Center and moved up through the Harlem District finally ending at the Albany Civil Rights Institute. A program followed that included performances from the Freedom Singers, the SWGA Performing Arts Academy, a presentation from Mayor Bo Dorough and a guest appearance from Bernadette Stanis, who played Thelma from the show “Good Times.”

“It just shows you that people are people and when you have a good cause, they will, they will support you. It’s good to have folks like them,” Frank Wilson, community activist and event organizer, said.

Many people were moved by reenactments of both John Lewis and Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches, which were also given during the program.

Slade said that she felt extremely grateful to be able to witness something like this, but she also felt as though something was missing from the event.

“More of our youth should have been here because we are finding out that our history is not being taught,” she said.

“They missed a great opportunity to get a lesson outside of the classroom, one that was not only informational but was entertaining also. And so, I not only say that to the young people, I say that to the parents who did not encourage them to come because they missed some great information that they will never find in the classroom,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the reason why more young people should be coming to these types of events is because history must live on through the younger generation.

Slade also agrees that understanding and learning the history of events like the Albany Movement and the March on Washington is now a responsibility.

“They don’t know the rich history of Albany, Georgia. If you don’t know from where you’ve come, you’re destined to repeat some bad things,” Slade said.

Aside from the call to action for young people, the people who gathered at Shiloh Baptist Church celebrated the parts of MLK’s dream that have been accomplished so far.