This week in 1963 was the culmination of a series of initiatives and marches across the US, “March on Washington,” which demanded access to voting and legal rights for all of America’s citizens. The most memorable highlight was Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, (August 28, 1963), in Washington where monuments memorialized the previous great struggles, from the American Revolution to the Civil War, which helped build the foundation for America’s political values. In the 1960’s, US Civil Rights leaders also made a direct appeal to the United Nations regarding the perceived failure of US institutions to respect fundamental human rights, including those enshrined within the UN Charter. (Read: “Legacy of Police on Black Violence pre & post Selma ‘Bloody Sunday’.” )
In the above photograph dated December 4, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King and wife Coretta Scott King are met at the UN by Dr. Ralph Johnson Bunche, a UN Special Adviser for Political Affairs. Dr. Bunche was also an American, a leader in the US Civil Rights movement including the March on Washington, Chair of Howard University Department of Political Affairs, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for his mediation efforts in the early stages of the Israel/Palestine conflict.
How far America has come before the above photo is undeniable, but we as Americans must expect it as something consistent with the values of the founding of this great country. America’s race relations have also come a long way since the 1960’s, but recent events would suggest that the journey cannot yet be called as complete. (See: “Does UN See US ‘Institutional Discrimination’ Post Ferguson“?)
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