March on Washington 50 Years Later: Ironies



Officially titled the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the title underlines one of the ironies in this observation.  At the time of the March black unemployment was ten percent.  After untold trillions spent in the last half century to remedy this problem, black unemployment today is 13.4% and the unemployment rate for black teenagers is a stunning 41%.

Another irony is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ringing words about people being judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skins.  With the racial spoils system that has been implemented in this country since 1963, we are no closer to this goal.

Yet another irony is the religious language in which Martin Luther King, Jr., an ordained minister, arrayed his calls for justice.  Today such language would be reviled if spoken by anyone else by some of the same people who today will celebrate the “I Have a Dream Speech”.

The final irony is that the invocation that day long ago was given by Archbishop Patrick O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington DC.  This was symbolic of the strong support that the Church gave the Civil Rights movement.  Today, many of those in the Democrat party who will celebrate the anniversary are actively engaged in an attempt to drive the Church from the public square.

A day to be remembered and pondered.

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Yet another irony is the religious language in which Martin Luther King, Jr., an ordained minister, arrayed his calls for justice. Today such language would be reviled if spoken by anyone else by some of the same people who today will celebrate the “I Have a Dream Speech”.

    Unless such language is used by a leftist.

  2. My recollection is that in the contemporaneous reports of those events 50 years ago, the press referred to him as “the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.” or “the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.”

    Today, the Establishment Media insists on secularizing him.

  3. King had an affinity for utopian thinking, see here:



    If you look around the civil rights leadership of 1963, I think Hosea Williams may have been the only one of consequence whose mundane trade incorporated operational measures of competence. Roy Wilkins was a lapsed newspaper reporter, Whitney Young was a social worker, King and his deputy Ralph Abernathy were clergymen sired of clergymen, and Bayard Rustin seems to have been immersed in extraparliamentary politics his whole life. Philip Randolph as a trade unionist had more of a foot in practical life, but the economic activity of trade unionists is extractive in character. The prominent businessmen (e.g. John Johnson) and economists (e.g. Andrew Brimmer) did not appear to have much influence over the vision of society maintained by the protest leadership.

    Something Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote about later was that disturbing social phenomena – the detachment of the census of the welfare rolls from unemployment rates – were already in evidence by around 1958.

    By 1978, advocates of non-racial social democracy were ignored (Rustin) or subject to vitriolic denunciation (Wm. Julius Wilson) by politicians and word merchants alike.

    It is is just difficult to imagine that a social system characterized by equal liberty and careers-open-to-talents could ever have emerged from the interaction between black protest, the academic/journalistic/philanthropic left, and the Democratic Party. Such a goal was incongruent with the basic tendencies of all three.

  4. Unusually, I disagree with you, Donald– I think we are much closer to the “content of their character” setup, but are ironically fighting being driven into objective, overt racism by Dr. King’s former allies or followers.

    What was that line, about being careful in fighting demons that you don’t become one?

  5. Dr. King was a deeply religious Christian man. This propelled what he did and his greatness. What he did is his profoundest sermon. Fifty years later, it has become almost taboo to acknowledge this truth. Dr. King would be appalled today at this country’s pagan assault on the family, marriage, traditional morality, religion, unborn children, common sense and the capacity to distinguish RIGHT from WRONG.

    Obama’s speech on the 50th anniversary of MLK’s Washington address was an opportunity to bring Americans together and unite the country in memory of a greatly revered American leader. Instead, this was a deeply partisan speech, filled with campaign-style themes of class warfare and anti-capitalist rhetoric, and a call for more unaffordable government programs.

    Black Americans have been given the equal opportunities they deserve of open doors to succeed with education, determination and hard work. Yet “The Dream” has been severely hindered by a host of socially degrading realities disproportionately affecting blacks (e.g., 72% out-of-wedlock birthrate, 67% of children living with one parent, and the resulting poverty this causes).

    Because such BAD BEHAVIOR is ignored and tolerated, it leads many millions of young people to enormous rage for what has been done to them in their innocent, formative years. Chances for success in life are often severely influenced. YES, DR. KING WOULD BE APPALLED, BUT NONE OF THESE UNMENTIONABLE FACTS WERE EVEN TOUCHED UPON ON AUG. 28, 2013.

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