Professors Discuss Civil Rights History on 50th Anniversary of March on Washington

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Drs. Gaskins and Moore Review Historical and Political Significance of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – On August 28, 2013, citizens from all over the U.S. converged upon the nation’s capitol to commemorate and celebrate the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which occurred 50 years ago on August 28, 1963.

As part of the march, Martin Luther King, Jr. shared what became his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream,” in which he called for an end to racism in the United States.  To commemorate the anniversary of the march, Gardner-Webb University professors Dr. Ben Gaskins (political science) and Dr. Joseph Moore (history) joined operations manager Jeff Powell in the WGWG studios to discuss the historical and political context of both the Civil Rights March on Washington and the resulting speech given by King.

According to online resources, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was partly intended to demonstrate mass support for the civil rights legislation proposed by President Kennedy in June.  Historians say King and other leaders therefore agreed to keep their speeches calm, also, to avoid provoking the civil disobedience which had become the hallmark of the civil rights movement.  Officials believe King originally designed his speech as a homage to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, timed to correspond with the 100-year centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University offers a comprehensive academic experience that introduces students to the diverse world of ideas and to the people who think them, preparing them for professional success and for productive citizenship.