Howard University Celebrates Historic March

School to Host 'Day of Service' and other Events

Stacy M. Brown | 8/23/2013, 1:32 a.m.
Hundreds of volunteers from the incoming freshman class plan to spend Friday, Aug. 23, participating in the inaugural Howard University ...
Andrew Young, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, will address Howard University freshmen on Friday, Aug. 25 in Cramton Auditorium on the school's campus. He will also debut a civil rights film Sunday in the auditorium. (Courtesy photo)

Hundreds of volunteers from the incoming freshman class plan to spend Friday, Aug. 23, participating in the inaugural Howard University Day of Service.

Organizers of the event said freshmen will assist with community service projects throughout the District of Columbia that focus on education, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, poverty, voter registration, non-violence, and environmental services.

“The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 was a culmination of a long and painful struggle to advance freedom for all Americans, but especially black Americans,” said Howard University President Sidney A. Ribeau.

“A half a century later, the next steps must include vision and leadership for the struggle to protect the civil, economic and social rights of all Americans,” said Ribeau, 64. “It is imperative that we recommit to the goals of the 1963 March on Washington as we respond to contemporary challenges.”

The university, located in Northwest, also plans to host a special service at Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 3 p.m., with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

"The day of service is really to empower a person, which is a direct response to the March on Washington and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King," said Howard junior Alyssa McCall, 20, who helped plan the Day of Service event. "It's very important to college students, especially at Howard University, because it's a moment in our history."

The historic march, which took place Aug. 28, 1963, brought hundreds of thousands of participants and spectators to the National Mall to call for integration and economic equality and culminated with King delivering his famous, "I Have a Dream," speech.

The march will be re-created on Wednesday, Aug. 28 on the National Mall, where President Barack Obama will address the nation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Colleges and universities around the country plan to honor the anniversary as well, with community service, smaller re-enactments, lectures and academic debates.

Howard University will also premiere a documentary on the civil rights movement and host a question-and-answer session with the film's producer, Andrew Young, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a Howard alumnus.

The film, which is titled, “1963: The Year that Changed America,” will be presented on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 4 p.m., in Cramton Auditorium on Howard’s campus. The event is free and open to the public. Young also plans to speak to freshmen at Cramton today at 2 p.m., about the importance of service in the black community.

The documentary, produced by Young, 81, focuses on the Birmingham campaign, a movement that put a spotlight on the realities of segregation in America.

The film also chronicles the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, one of the great unsung heroes of the civil rights movement who often risked his life to bring racial justice to Birmingham, Ala.

The movement in Birmingham raised the conscience of a nation and set the stage for the March on Washington in 1963.

Shuttlesworth died in 2011 at the age of 89.

“I’m honored that I’ve been invited to take part in this historic event,” said Young.