Photo courtesy of Marty Cotwright
(L-R) USC Professor Geoffrey Cowan, Rev. James Lawson, former L.A. Councilman Robert Farrell, retired L.A. Police Commissioner President John Mack, Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray, and CAAM’s Executive Director Charmaine Jefferson
The California African American Museum (CAAM) recently commemorated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom with a special panel discussion and exhibition. CAAM’s exhibition, “The March on Washington: A Tribute, 50 Years Later” now on view at CAAM through December 29, 2013, is a display of photos from CAAM’s collection that captured moments and individuals during the 1963 March on Washington.
The panel discussion featured Los Angeles’ civil rights activists Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray, retired L.A. Police Commissioner President John Mack, former City Councilman Robert Farrell, Rev. James Lawson and CAAM’s Executive Director Charmaine Jefferson. Moderated by USC Professor Geoffrey Cowan, the civil rights activists discussed their contributions to the civil rights movement.
Calling for a commitment to the unfinished work from the civil right movement, Lawson reflected on the strategic development of the March. Lawson recalled a strategy meeting, which included Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Birmingham, Alabama, on April 12, 1963.
“The March was organized as an epiphany for this campaign (civil rights movement),” recalled Lawson.
The exhibition includes images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., novelist James Baldwin, famed performer Josephine Baker and many more. In addition, the exhibition features artifacts from the 1963 March on Washington, such as a souvenir booklet, an Ebony magazine published in November 1963, and a video montage of individuals discussing their experiences at the 1963 March on Washington.
“It is an honor for CAAM to have such a distinguished panel of individuals who have lived the history of the civil rights movement, as well as those who participated in the 1963 March on Washington,” said Jefferson. “They are a true testament to Dr. King's legacy."
Rev. Murray closed the panel discussion with a quote from French Poet Paul Valery to initiate a call-to-action.
“We must remember, the best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up,” he said.