March on Washington Begins at Georgetown Law

August 28, 2013 — They came from New Orleans, Detroit and Indianapolis. Hundreds came to walk and to sing, to commemorate a watershed moment in American history — the August 28, 1963, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

They came to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a speech he gave at the Lincoln Memorial that day — and to hear another speech, this one by the nation’s first African American president, Barack Obama. They came to celebrate the dream.

And because a Georgetown Law alumnus, Van White (L’89), a lawyer from Rochester, New York, had a dream of his own, they met at the Georgetown Law campus. White organized marchers to meet at First Street and New Jersey Avenue outside McDonough Hall the morning of August 28. A day earlier, White convened a conference on civil rights that tackled such issues as racial profiling, voting rights and the achievement gap in education. 

Connecting the 1963 event with current issues provides a “substantive path forward — rather than just a path to the Mall,” White said.

White invited veterans of the 1963 March on Washington to lead the crowd. But before stepping off at 9 a.m., they listened to the national anthem and heard Georgetown Law Dean William M. Treanor offer brief remarks:

“Our motto is ‘Law is but the means, justice is the end,’” Treanor said. “Thank you to Van White for organizing this. And thank you all. Your presence makes this day possible. Thanks for your dedication to the cause of justice and equality.”

Shortly before the walk began, Shirley Washington, who marched in 1963, described how she felt 50 years ago. “I was in 11th grade,” she said, “but I knew it was a big deal.”

To view a slideshow of the event, click here