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Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


There were several major events held in Washington D.C. to commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The first of these was held on August 24, 2013 and organized by "Realize the Dream", headed by Martin Luther King, III and the National Action Network (NAN), a civil rights organization founded in 1991 by the Reverend Al Sharpton. This event was highlighted by a rally held at the Lincoln Memorial with numerous notable speakers, and attended by tens of thousands of people. This was followed by a march to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. This was officially entitled the National Action to Realize the Dream March, and had as its focus racial profiling, voting rights, poverty and other social issues

Among the buttons issued for this specific event is one sponsored by the Maryland Democratic Party. This was distributed to several hundred people who were present at a commemorative ceremony held that morning at the Washington Monument. The gathering featured a presentation by Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. The Maryland Democratic Party is based in Annapolis, Maryland. Its roots go back to 1827 when Maryland supporters of Andrew Jackson organized to help him win the Presidential election of 1828. Governor O'Malley also spoke at a following event held on August 28th and described further below.

A second button for the August 24th event and portrayed was worn by dozens of children and adults in the VIP section representing Jack and Jill of America, Inc. Founded in 1938, this is a national organization with over 220 chapters in 35 states and the District of Columbia representing over 30,000 family members. Jack and Jill's purpose is to provide guidance and opportunity so every child can develop leadership potential.

The Emmett Till button was worn by members of the Till family at the August 24th event. Family members spoke briefly at the event. The button depicted here which commemorates the Fiftieth Anniversary of the March on Washington was issued by the Emmett Till Foundation. In 1955, fourteen year old Emmett Till was brutally beaten and murdered while visiting Mississippi. He had made the mistake of saying, "Bye baby" to a white woman (other sources say he whistled at her). His killers, two white men, were arrested, charged with murder, and acquitted by an all-white, all-male jury.

A second commemorative event, two actually, was held on August 28, 2013 and was referred to as the Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and the Call to Action event held at the Lincoln Memorial. This included comments by President Barack Obama, former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and numerous celebrities and dignitaries. Organized by the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia, these events focused upon commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.' s August 28, 1963 speech, a call for civil and economic rights, jobs, and justice, and included and inter-faith religious service and bell-ringing ceremony.

Several buttons encompassed both events and incorporated several issues. This is evidenced in the 2013 Commemoration "No Justice - No Peace" button that not only notes the Fiftieth Anniversary of the 1963 march, but also references Emmett Till who had been murdered in 1955, and Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot in a confrontation with a Neighborhood Watch Coordinator in 2012.


Collection Location:
Allegany County, Maryland

African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.

Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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