March on Washington, DC
By Talia Salem
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther King’s inspirational “I Have a Dream” speech. On this day in 1963, more than 200,000 people gathered in Washington, DC, and Dr. King’s speech has lived on in the hearts and minds of Americans and people around the world, as his legacy has helped support the reality of a global community.
Reliving this historic event years later in the city where it all took place was a powerful experience. For those international travelers interested in all facets of American culture, this movement is an important part of the nation’s collective history. Read on to find out what the March on Washington means for visitors like you, and visit our Facebook page for more images from the event.
Washington D.C.: A Heart of History and Culture, Then and Now
“We’re excited to host a march 50 years later and to be physically here for the event,” said Elliott Ferguson, President and CEO of Destination DC, the destination marketing organization for Washington, DC. “It is exciting to talk about what this means to America as a country and how things have changed over the last 50 years.”
Washington, DC has gone through an impressive transformation since 1963. “Fifty years ago when someone would come to DC it would be about visiting the monuments and memorials, and to a certain extent the museums,” Ferguson recalled. While the three M’s of Museums, Monuments and Memorials are a vital part of the traveler experience, the city has evolved to offer much more.
Its history and place as the seat of power for the United States adds complexity and intrigue to the destination. However, as locals know, there are really two Washingtons: the political side and the other side. “The political side with Capitol Hill is important, but there is the other side of the city with the neighborhoods, restaurants and shops…and so many things to see and do,” said Ferguson. “You can get so many facets of American history and culture right here in Washington D.C.”
Experience History Firsthand and Get a True Taste of Washington, D.C.
Make your first stop the National Mall and the Lincoln Memorial. “Think about all of the historic events that have taken place, including the march on Washington, in front of the Lincoln Memorial. You feel as if you were there when history was being made 50 years ago and then again in 2013,” Ferguson advises. Next walk over the new Martin Luther King memorial, where you will find an imposing likeness of the famous leader and many of his important quotes. After you’ve worked up an appetite head over to Ben’s Chili bowl, one of the oldest African American-owned business in the District. Stop there and enjoy their famous half-smoke chili dogs and take in some of the homegrown history.
Many museums are hosting exhibitions surrounding this historic time, visit Washington.org to plan your trip and find out more information on the entire Civil Rights movement including information on the U Street Corridor.