march on wash


After the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the March on Washington  on August 24, 2013, what are the top Social and Civil Rights priorities of African Americans?

 The 50th Anniversary March on Washington convened by Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, highlighted many social issues and among them was poverty, voter rights and unemployment rates, among other things. Concerns were in motivating people to demonstrate through the streets of Washington and other parts of the nation.


Some want to see self-defense laws changed after a jury found Florida neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman innocent of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Others say they want unemployment and poverty rates lowered and more job opportunities for working-class people. Some are concerned about voter rights after the Supreme Court in June struck down a coverage formula in the 1965 Voting Rights Act used to monitor states with a history of discrimination.

 With the still critical things to be advocated for, there must be a policy agenda for today and the next generation of activist. We must not focus on another King but on finding issues on which they can have an impact. We must focus on the needs of our communities and this can only be done by visiting and speaking to the communities people and not just a select few. I'm praying that we can unite around injustice and its cost.

The 1963 March on Washington was a watershed moment in the American civil rights movement because it was attended by 250,000 people, graced by King's speech at the Lincoln Memorial, followed by the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. The official program/agenda - which listed 18 items - was titled "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom" and has the words " Lincoln Memorial" written in bold text.

 Another critical event headed by Dr. King and played a vital role in the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the St. Augustine, Florida civil rights movement. In the spring of 1964, that event brought the movement in St. Augustine to international attention. Over the next few months, the city got more publicity than it ever had in its many centuries of existence.

 The massive non-violent direct action campaign was led by a local African American Dentist, Dr. Robert Hayling and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) staff including: Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Andrew Young, Hosea Williams, C. T. Vivian, Fred Shuttlesworth, Willie Bolden, J. T. Johnson, Dorothy Cotton and others. Civil rights activists made St. Augustine the stage for a moral drama enacted before a world audience. Again, St. Augustine will receive national attention as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the St. Augustine Civil Rights Movement in 2014.

 A suggested list for a modern day Civil Rights and Social Agenda should include: The Invisible Vapor of Racism - Poverty -Unemployment -Homelessness - Criminal/Juvenile Justice - Education - Violence - Voting Rights - Drugs and Drug Abuse - Healthcare - Economic Justice and to address the failed Drug War and the Prison Industrial Complex.

                                                         "At no time do we condone wrongness on either side of the wall" burton  

 Keep Hope Alive,

Minister Richard P. Burton, Sr.

 About the Writer

Minister Richard Burton is the founder and director of Project Reach, Inc.,  a grassroots organization to re-enfranchise members of the at-risk community and act as a voice for fair and proportionate sentencing laws. He served as President of the Allentown Branch NAACP for 15 years, President Pennsylvania State NAACP - (2) years and A former member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) National Board of Directors the nation’s premier and oldest civil rights organization for  12 Years. Richard is a Minister at Epiphany Baptist Church 663 South McDuff Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida 32205 and Chairman of the Outreach Ministry. He is also Chairman Emeritus, of the Civil Rights Museum of St. Augustine Inc., board of directors, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, to bring to fruition a civil rights museum to St. Augustine, Florida. For more information, visit