Monday, August 26, 2013

1963 Washington Civil Rights March & 2006 Dallas Civil Rights Mega March

This week we are celebrating the historic events of 50 years ago in Washington, D.C. on 8-28-63, when about 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial.  They heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his brilliant "I have a dream" speech.

Much of the publicity has said the 1963 march was the largest Civil Rights march in U.S. history.  That certainly was true until 2006.  However, on 4-9-2006, that record was broken in Dallas, Texas with the monumental Mega March to address immigration reform and the civil rights associated with the needs for such reform.

The Mega March gathered on Ross Avenue in Dallas, in front of and to the east of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, planning for a 1:00 PM start.   However the crowds were far beyond all planning.  Congestion was intense.  At about 12:45 PM Dallas Police directed the march to start to relieve that congestion.  I was walking up Ross from the other direction to arrive in time for the 1:00 PM start when I was met by the front of the March.  All six lanes of Ross remained filled with people walking for the next 4 hours, or longer.
Dallas 4-9-2006 Mega March start from Guadalupe Cathedral
The 1.3 miles of street from the Cathedral to Dallas City Hall remained filled with marchers till past 5 PM when the last of them walked past the Cathedral.  Meanwhile at Dallas City Hall this was the crowd in the over-congested area:
Dallas City Hall Plaza looking northeast 4-9-2006 at about 2 PM
The following photo was taken long after the two above, at about 4:00 PM looking northeast up Ross Avenue.  This continued for about another hour.
Looking northeast up Ross Avenue about 4: 00 PM on 4-9-2006
Estimates of the crowd were usually agreed at 500,000 but some went as high as 600,000.  The lowest estimates were 350,000. 
Does anyone know of another U.S. Civil Rights march that was larger?