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Monday - January 15, 2018 11:41 pm

Viterbo keynote speaker talks of '63 march on D.C. during MLK remembrance

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Crowds are shown in front of the Washington Monument during the March on Washington for civil rights, August 28, 1963. (AP Photo) Crowds are shown in front of the Washington Monument during the March on Washington for civil rights, August 28, 1963. (AP Photo)

On the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., many Americans recall the "I have a dream" speech. 

It was given by King at a large civil rights march in Washington, D.C.

Many people, however, may think of that 1963 march as less controversial than it really was. 

Dr. Duchess Harris, the dept. chair of American Studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, spoke at a MLK celebration at Viterbo University on Monday night. Harris said there was a lot of resistance by whites to the protest. 

"More white Americans were opposed to the march on Washington than they have been to Black Lives Matter," Harris said. "And so, we like to do revisionists history and think that Americans were supportive of this event when they actually were not."

Harris, who been a Minneapolis commissioner on civil rights, added that the Washington march had been suggested in the 1940s but then-President Franklin Roosevelt opposed it.

Harris also talked about how much of the distrust of police by minorities results from differences in society.

"A lot of people don't understand that policing happens differently in different communities," she said. "If you live in an affluent community, often you see the police being helpful and supportive. And, if you live in an impoverished community, you might understand the police differently."

Harris, whose grandmother was in the first group of 11 black women recruited to work at NASA, also believes America has made progress toward more social justice and less racism over the years.

Last modified on Tuesday - January 16, 2018 12:18 am
Brad Williams

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from U-W-La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area.  Brad writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse.  He's been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.  

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