LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As the nation celebrated Wednesday the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington led by civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., members of Louisville's NAACP chapter recounted their weekend in the nation's capitol.
"It was a fantastic trip," said Raymond Burse, NAACP Education Committee Chair. "We sponsored a bus."
Burse and nearly 50 other local NAACP members traveled more than 600 miles to Washington D.C. where they rallied on August 24 at the Lincoln Memorial commemorating Dr. King's March on Washington and iconic "I Have A Dream" speech.
"Talking about the quilt of America," began Burse, "you saw it in the crowd that was marching that day. To see that group of people come together gives you hope that there is still hope in America that the dream that King had 50 years ago will be realized at some point in the history of this country."
Having attended the commemorative march in 1983, Burse said he has witnessed a shift from civil rights to human rights. While he recognizes progress has been made, he believes there are still many opportunities for advancement.
"If you look at what the Supreme Court did with the Voting Rights Act; gutting section five which required pre-clearance for certain southern states in terms of voting. You look at what several states have done as it relates to voter identification and what is taking place, then you look at the economic condition of people in this country," said Burse. "The gap between the richest and the poorest has grown much, much wider and the reality is that many African Americans and other minorities are at the lower end of the economic spectrum and so you begin to worry about those things."
Burse said he believes these disparities can change through grassroots efforts like the March on Washington that breathe hope and activism into generations to come.
"It's a wake-up call to people to look back, reflect, think about what it is we've done, where we've been, where we're going and how we're really making measurable progress in terms of moving forward," said Burse.
Louisville-based photographer Clinton Bennett photographed the NAACP trip. To view his photos, click here.