'Time to celebrate the past': NC churches commemorate 1963 March on Washington

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Monday, August 28, 2023
Local churches commemorate 1963 March on Washington
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Local churches commemorate 1963 March on Washington

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Messages Sunday from the pulpits of churches across America included mentions of the 1963 March on Washington.

"It is time to celebrate the past, but we cannot rest on our laurels. We've got to be prepared and mobilize for the future, now more so than ever before," St. Joseph AME Church's senior pastor, Reverend Jay Augustine said. "So many rights, so many advancements that were fought for in the course of the last 60 years, there've been deliberate attempts to roll them back."

That's a message echoed by Congresswoman Valerie Foushee during her message to the St. Joseph congregation, delivered on the day before the 60th anniversary of the march.

"Sixty years later, we're still witnessing horrific acts of violence against our community as recent as yesterday, in Jacksonville," said the 4th Congressional District representative. "Disparities within our healthcare system and in our schools. Inequities in job and housing opportunities. And we're seeing state legislatures across the country, including right here in North Carolina, enacting restrictions that make it harder to vote. Laws that seem eerily similar to the laws that civil rights leaders fought so hard to change."

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Reverend Augustine traveled to Washington DC on Saturday for a commemoration of that iconic day and while there, someone asked a thought-provoking question.

"What do you feel is the difference here?" he said. "I participated in the March on Washington, the 30th anniversary in 1993 when I was a college student in Washington, DC. And I said, then if there was an air of white supremacy it was more covert. It was certainly not out in your face, perhaps 'dog whistle' language. Now dog whistles are gone, the bullhorns are out."

To emphasize his concern, he mentions another message that includes the words of Dr. King.

"If the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice, it only bends when we are deliberate in grabbing it by both hands," he said.

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