…Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children…
“I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr., August 28th, 1963
Center for Peace and Justice
In honor of the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Falvey Library and Center for Peace and Justice Education have come together to present an area to reflect and celebrate the historic day. By the Center for Peace and Justice Education today, there will be images from Villanova University’s Distinctive Collections of Martin Luther King Jr from the 1960s. Of particular note, there is a pennant passed out during the March on Washington day that is currently housed at in Distinctive Collections at Falvey Library. On display are other images of King at other protests and his visit to Villanova in 1965.
The March on Washington, also known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a massive protest march on August 28th, 1963, when over 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The event aimed to draw attention to continuing challenges and inequalities faced by African Americans. Other speakers included A. Phillip Randolph, the march director and founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Roy Wilkins, the NAACP’s executive secretary; Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers; and John Lewis, led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Even sixty years later the march and MLK’s words still resonate today just as injustice and white supremacy evolves over time and the fight for equality continues for social justice, voting rights, education, and criminal reform.
–Villanova’s Connection to the “I Have a Dream” Speech–
King’s physical speech was originally in possession of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame player and coach George Raveling, who came in receipt of the artifact while volunteering at the 1963 March on Washington. Villanova University became the speech’s steward and has entered into a long-term loan agreement with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture to display it.