The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
Today I walked with thousands of people from all over the country along a route filled with historical landmarks and present-day reminders of economic, racial and systemic injustice; -thinking of how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go. It was fifty years later, to the day, of the March on Washington in 1963. The main stretch of the 1.6 mile route took us down Constitution Avenue past the Dept. of Labor, the U.S. Courthouse, the Federal Trade Commission and the Dept. of (what passes for) Justice.
Students from a local D.C. school led the way.
At the head of the march was a group of students from the Washington Dupont Park Adventist School. It must have been quite an extraordinary day for them. Perhaps some of them will attend the one fifty years from now, much like the people they were marching right in front of. For, walking behind them, and perhaps just a tad slower than they had in 1963, was a line of seniors, arms linked, who had all been to the original march fifty years ago as children, college students, young adults and organizers. They braved the stormy skies and once again commanded Constitution Avenue; there for each other, there for those who could not be there. There for those who would come after. A sea of umbrellas and conversations followed, as the numbers packed the westbound lanes and spilled across the sidewalks.
Veterans of the 1963 March; up front in 2013.
The Vibrato. The Quiet One. The Kid. The non-flashy one. And now, thirty-eight years after leaving the Rolling Stones and thirty-one since they last played live with him (2003’s guest appearance was scuttled while he waited backstage with his guitar), the unassuming guitarist who took them to musical heights not seen since stepped out on the darkened blue stage and completed the journey. He had so much pep in his step, it looked like it was impossible for him to relax into a slow blues or even assume his traditional standing-still stage demeanor of yore.
He spun around, he lurched, he prowled the front of the stage (has he ever done this even once in his entire career?), he gravitated between hanging out with the guitarists in front of Charlie Watts’ drums and heading out to play off of the other Mick who was busy blowing harp and exhorting the audience. It was a little messy, and surely a little disorienting to be playing on a giant stage again after
years decades away from the limelight. Was he sending a message to Jagger and the others? Something along the lines of “I can still play this shit and I can even walk around and entertain if you need an extra guitarist for the 2013 tour”. The Vibrato has become the Big Gazelle. Was it the shoes?