The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said today that the Congresswoman, who was on the staff of the 1963 March on Washington and later served as the first female chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) -- the agency whose establishment was a key demand of the March -- will make several media appearances leading up to the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and on the day of the anniversary, August 28, 2013. On Wednesday, August 21, during the 6:00 p.m. hour, Norton will appear on the PBS show NewsHour for a one-on-one interview with Gwen Ifill to discuss her role in organizing the March, the role of women in the March, and reflections on the civil rights movement. On Friday, August 23, she will be on The Daily Rundown during the 9:00 a.m. hour on MSNBC, on Martin Bashir during the 4:00 p.m. hour on MSNBC, and her filmed interview with Agence France-Presse, France's largest news agency, will be distributed around the world in several languages, including English. On Saturday, August 24, she will appear on the Melissa-Harris Perry Show during the 10:00 a.m. hour on MSNBC, and on CNN live from the National Mall, near the Lincoln Memorial (time to be determined). Also on Saturday the 24th, a panel discussion about reflections of the March and the current state of civil rights, featuring Norton, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), Reverend Andrew Young, Reverend Bernice King and Myrlie Evers will air on BET between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. On the day of the anniversary, Norton will appear on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer and on Fox 5 DC (times to be determined), and will participate in a march that will culminate with a speech by President Obama in the same place that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 50 years ago.
During the first part of the summer of 1963, Norton was a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) worker in the Delta town of Greenwood, Mississippi and in the second part of that summer, she was on the staff of the March on Washington under Bayard Rustin, the organizer of the March.
"The March on Washington was the zenith point of ten years of civil rights activism, beginning with the Montgomery Bus Boycott," Norton said. "The unprecedented March brought the energy that had been poured into hundreds of protests and demonstrations in the South to Washington, the seat of power. Just as the first March on Washington, 50 years ago, was the direct cause of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the first enforceable civil rights legislation since the Civil War, this month's march must insist on tangible progress equal to today's important unfinished work for equality and justice."
Ironically, the 1963 March's demand for equal job opportunity was not only realized with the establishment of the EEOC, but 14 years later, Norton, who as a Yale law school student had worked on the staff of the March to get a federal equal employment agency, was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to chair the agency. Yet, Norton said, "Once again, the March will raise national demands, notably the revision of Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, invalidated by the Supreme Court in June, and the repeal of Stand Your Ground laws."
On August 24, at 9:00 a.m., Norton will speak at a D.C. statehood rally at the D.C. War Memorial. She said, "In the nation's capital, where a historic march is once again being held, our citizens are still without the rights that the March on Washington won for other Americans 50 years ago. We, in the nation's capital, stand alone, singled out without the most elementary of rights. We are taxed, but we are stateless, denied representation in the Congress, which, nevertheless, insists that we obey its laws and that our residents provide billions in funding for the federal government. Our residents are among the heroic buried at Arlington National Cemetery, but unlike the other casualties, must be counted as having given their lives without a vote in the Congress that sent them to war."