Wednesday marks the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, the famous civil rights rally where Martin Luther King Jr. called for an end to racism in the United States. The North Carolina NAACP is commemorating this watershed event through rallies held Wednesday evening in thirteen locations across the state—including outside Wilmington’s Thalian Hall. In addition to celebrating the historical event, the local rally will serve as a protest—not only against recent state legislation affecting voting and education, but also community-specific issues including gun violence and environmental injustice.
During his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered at the 1963 March, Martin Luther King Jr. urged attendees to go back to Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina, and change discriminatory situations on the state and local levels. Deborah Dicks Maxwell, president of the New Hanover County NAACP, says this line inspired the organization to host these rallies on the community level. She says its speakers are aiming to educate North Carolinians about recent legislation that she says is discriminatory.
"We are tired of the repressive and oppressive legislation that is coming from the General Assembly. And the people need to speak out. You know, 500,000 people without insurance, cuts—we have among the lowest teacher pay in the country, fifth-highest unemployment? These things are not acceptable for a state that was once touted for being so progressive and good to its citizens."
Maxwell says that Moral Mondays showed the North Carolina NAACP that people are invested enough to mobilize on the community level. The event will be held Wednesday evening at 5:30, at Princess and Third Streets.