North Texas Celebrates 1963 March

Through the week of August 28, North Texans celebrated the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that was called by A. Philip Randolph of the Sleeping Car Porters and organized by Bayard Rustin in 1963. The excellent civil rights movie, "The Butler," running for its third successful week, helped build enthusiastic crowds.

Grand Prairie held their celebration in City Hall on August 24. Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson used the beautiful little chapel in Dallas' Thanksgiving SquarePeter Johnson for a tribute at 1 PM on August 28. One of the honored speakers was Peter Johnson, who was sent to Dallas by Dr King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the early 1960's. Johnson talked briefly about how bad the situation was for African Americans before 1963, but he mostly emphasized the tasks that continue to lie before us. Johnson and other speakers decried the disgusting voter suppression attacks current in Texas.

Luis Vera

Another stirring speaker was Luis Vera, General Counsel of the AFL-CIO affiliated Labor Committee for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA). Vera talked about the effect that Dr. King and the civil rights movement had on Mexican Americans and immigrants. He went further than the other speakers in talking about the challenges because he said that the Gay Community has to be included in our future fights for dignity and fairness.

Gary Bledsoe of the Texas NAACP was the keynote speaker. Remarks from Carlos Marroquin of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) were included.

That evening, Frederick D Haynes II, Pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church, put on an extended celebration. Prior to the main meeting at Friendship West, Social Justice Minister Vince Hall led a discussion especially for working people.

The new principal officer of the Dallas AFL-CIO, Mark York, urged participation at all the events. A number of AFL-CIO affiliated unionists attended, including sizable delegations from UAW 848 and CWA 6215.


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