Civil Rights at 50

An effort led by the Equal Justice Society

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Month: August 2013

Tens of Thousands March on Washington Again 50 Years Later

MOW50Tens of thousands gathered in Washington, D.C., today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event included a commemorative march and rally along the historic route followed on August 28, 1963, from the Lincoln Memorial to the King Memorial, ending at the Washington Monument. Leaders from civil rights, labor, immigrant rights, and social justice organizations spoke after the march. Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images.

On August 28, the actual anniversary date, hundred will join the Equal Justice Society as we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Oakland Museum.

Everyday People: The Unsung Heroes and Heroines
Who Powered the Civil Rights Movement
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
The Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak Street, Oakland, Calif.

Our event is nearly sold-out, but there may be a few tickets left.


Bayard Rustin Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

bayard_rustinTwenty-six years after his death, Bayard Rustin will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the first Black president, Barack Obama. Rustin receives our nation’s highest civilian honor almost fifty years to the date of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a grand achievement crafted by Rustin, but largely associated with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Rustin served in Dr. King’s inner circle and evangelized Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence, which transformed the civil rights movement led by Dr. King.

Rustin also advocated the idea of the Grand Coalition, in which different interests looked past their narrow interests and towards opportunities to bridge efforts in order to achieve common goals.

Rustin was an openly gay man in a period when homosexuality was a crime in most parts of the country. He was a Black man during a time when Blacks were almost universally treated as second-class citizens.

He “stood at the intersection of several of the fights for equal rights,” read the White House announcement on the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients. Rustin was “an unyielding activist for civil rights, dignity, and equality for all.”

Rustin is still not as well-known as the iconic figures of the civil rights movement, such as Dr. King and Rosa Parks. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of women and men – whose names we may never know – played parts in the movement to advance equality in America.

It’s in the spirit of honoring Bayard Rustin that the Equal Justice Society pays homage to the unsung heroes and heroines at the organization’s annual event on August 28, 2013, at the Oakland Museum.

The event, titled “Everyday People: The Unsung Heroes and Heroines Who Powered the Civil Rights Movement,” takes place on the date of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Musicians, actors and dancers from the acclaimed Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and the Zaccho Dance Theatre will debut an original theatrical event in a tribute to the unsung and the unrecognized.

For more information about the event, visit

Photo: Bayard Rustin (left) talks with Cleveland Robinson in this photo by Orlando Fernandez.


Eva Paterson, Dorothy Cotton, Clayborne Carson on The March

march_on_washington_cr50_girl_with_flagEJS President Eva Paterson joined Dr. Dorothy Cotton, Prof. Clayborne Carson, and host Rose Aguilar on KALW’s “Your Call” radio show on August 13, 2013, to share perspectives on the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. What did “Jobs and Freedom” mean then – and what do they mean today?

Dr. Dorothy Cotton is a legendary civil rights activist and a close ally of Dr. King. She is the author of If Your Back’s Not Bent: The Role of the Citizenship Education Program in the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Clayborne Carson is a professor of history at Stanford University and the director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute. He is the author of Martin’s Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. EJS President Eva Paterson has campaigned for civil rights with passion, courage and tenacity for more than three decades.  A graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law, Paterson was at Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights for 23 years, and served as its Executive Director for 13 years.



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