The rhetoric last summer at commemorations of the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington was quite different from that heard at the original march in 1963. Lament replaced the determination to gain “jobs and freedom.” Speakers deplored the Supreme Court’s rollbacks of affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act. They condemned the notguilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial.
Instead of celebrating the great march, the anniversary events sounded a plea for a new civil rights movement. Largely missing from that call, however, was the strong prophetic voice of black religion that Martin Luther King, Jr. had famously articulated from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.