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Understanding the Civil Rights Movement Today

I have marched in support of the Civil Rights Movement of this country and attended rallies in my day. I do not march any longer. I find other ways to contribute. 

My guest today is my friend, Wade Henderson. Wade is the former President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which was founded as the legislative arm of the Civil Rights Movement. 

As the Washington Bureau Director of the NAACP, Wade directed government affairs and the national legislative program. He also served as the associate director of the Washington national office of the American Civil Liberties Union, launching his career as a legislative counsel and advocate on civil rights and civil liberties. 

Wade had his coming of age moment in 1963 when he participated in the March On Washington.  At 15 years old, he had already experienced segregation and racism, and understood the impact of this March. Wade admits that the March was not as romanticized as it now appears in movies. This was the very first March of this kind, and no one knew what to expect. 

“He salutes the protestors with Black Lives Matters because it is their protests that shine a light on police brutality. Their protests also protect the First and Fourth Amendments. Nothing can happen without a press for change.” 

As he brings the meaning of the March from 1963 to current day Wade quotes James Baldwin who said, “Not everything faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until faced.” 

According to my guest, unlike most of the youth out protesting today, he was able to use the law as a tool for change. Youth has always led The Movement. 

The Honorable John Lewis, former U.S. Congressman (deceased) and Civil Rights Icon was a young man when he started marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner were just young men when they were killed in Philadelphia, Mississippi for trying to register people to vote. Everyone can make an impact.  

This upcoming election is a pivotal moment for African Americans. The outcomes of this election will determine the direction of this country for generations to come. We need to understand that our rights can be removed easily. If our vote were not important, so many people would not be working to suppress it. 

Be a prop for social change. Now is the time to educate a new audience, hungry for elements to enhance change.


About the Author

multifaceted employment professional, author and lecturer