Film: The March on Washington

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Transcription of commentary

Just one hundred years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves, 200 000 people converge on the nation’s capital to rally for civil rights. They come by train, they come by bus, they come by air, they come from the north, the south, the east and west. But they come united in one cause: to urge Congress to pass the Civil Rights Bill to end forever the blight of racial inequity. This great throng with a cause gathers on the Mall that stretches from the Washington Monument towards the Capitol. From the break of dawn they filter into the city.

 
By 9.30 it is estimated that 40 000 had assembled, but it is more like a Sunday outing as they form into groups and discuss the day quietly. They are scheduled to move to the Lincoln Memorial at noon to hear the top leaders of the movement. Those leaders at the moment are conferring on Capitol Hill with leaders of Congress, pointing up the aims of the rally.
 
By 11.30 there are over 200 000 thronging the Mall, a crowd that is bigger than the most optimistic forecasts. Now there is a growing animation. It seemed as if the demonstrators were finding strength in each other and discovered their cause was a bond.
 
The crowd became impatient to get started and they moved towards the Lincoln Memorial before the scheduled hour. They moved with good humor, laughter and song. Few realize that they in a sense are participants in an historical day. It would be become part of the American scene that today’s gathering is the largest in Washington’s history. The men who organized the rally walk with springing steps towards the speaker stand: on the left Roy Wilkins with A. Philip Randolph. They have fought their fight all of their adult lives. In the van is Martin Luther King, who has been jailed twelve times on racial issues. Others on hand include Walter Reuther, head of the auto workers.
 
Authorities were fearful of disorders and there were 5000 informed men on duty. They had little to do but keep dissident groups away from the rally. Arrests in Washington were below normal. Police attribute this to the fact that for the first time in 30 years you could even buy a beer in Washington. The civil rights marchers needed no stimulants like that. They provided their own, with songs that ranged from the sacred to the hillbilly, but with one recurring theme: the cause of 20 million Negroes.
 
The crowd assembled around the reflecting pool before the Lincoln Memorial occupies every inch on the lawns and under the trees. There is a great swell of cheers to welcome Martin Luther King to the speaker’s podium, a man who stands as a symbol of all they are fighting for.
 
Later Mr King and the other leaders are to go to the White House, where the President said that everyone must be impressed with the demonstration of the strong faith and confidence in our democratic form of government. However, he warned, there is a long fight ahead in Congress.
 
The theme, the keynote, the thought uppermost of all here today is best set forth by Dr King. He sums up a day the capital will long remember:
 
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up …. The true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream.
 
Washington DC, 1963: democracy speaks in a mighty voice.
 

Glossary

emancipation – frigjøring/frigjering
converge – komme sammen/kome saman
blight – sykdom/sjukdom
inequity – urettferdighet/urettferd
throng – menneskemengd(e)
assemble – samle
confer – diskutere, samrå
forecast – spådom
participant – deltaker/deltakar
van - fortropp
authorities – myndigheter/styresmakter
dissident groups – grupper med avvikende/avvikande synpunkt
stimulant – stimulerende/stimulerande middel
sacred – religiøs
recurring – tilbakevendende/gjennomgåande
creed – trosetning/trusetning