DC at Night

DC at Night

Friday, February 8, 2013

March to Justice

Freedom riders escape their burning bus 
On Feb. 25th, the Investigation Discovery Channel will air the powerful, engaging documentary March to Justice: A Film That Chronicles the Fight for Equal Rights and Justice ... For All. Earlier this week, the film received its world premier at the Newseum here in D.C. The showing was followed by a panel discussion featuring 3 primary figures in the documentary, Kerry Kennedy, a social justice advocate and the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy; John Seigenthaler, the founder of the First Amendment Center and administrative assistant to Robert Kennedy in the 1960's; and Carolyn McKinstry, a minister, who, as a teenager, survived the Birmingham bombing which claimed the lives of 4 of her friends.

The documentary is really the story of 2 journeys - the 1st is the dangerous one undertaken in the 1960's in  a racially explosive, violent south for Civil Rights and a modern one by living members of that fight and 3 generations of the Kennedy family who revisited the sights made famous in that struggle.

Kennedy said she was so glad that her family, especially some of its youngest members, participated in the historical project. "It opened their eyes to what I think is the most important thing that happened in the United States in the last 100 years," Kennedy told the audience that filled the Newseum's main screening room.

And I am so proud of my father's role in it," she added, noting that some of the earliest memories of her father was going to see him in his U.S. Justice Department office. Those memories were tragically cut short as her father was killed by an assassin's bullets, just like fellow crusaders John, his brother and his friend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were before him.

Rev. McKinstry, who was 15 at the time of the fatal church bombing, said "we have really good memories of that (the Civil Rights) time, but it was not the best time."

"It is very special to share what happened in the 60s with young people," she said. "They are puzzled, but the kids can handle it. We all need to learn to live next to someone who is different than us."

She says she has never forgotten the sermon that was scheduled on the day of the bombing: A Love that Forgives. "People respond to love; people respond to forgiveness," McKinstry said.

Siegenthaler, like many of the freedom protesters he was charged with protecting, was severely beaten in the bloody Alabama streets. He says he is still amazed that the marchers, both old and young, were able to stay nonviolent surrounded on every street corner by such raging hatred and violence.

"Where the courage came from, to this day I can't imagine," Siegentahler said. "That nonviolent character of that 2nd American revolution was preached from the pulpit and it was preached from the (black) street corners."

"I think about Sandy Hook and I think we need to remember nonviolence even more," he added.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
The Newseum routinely records portions of their programs. To see a video clip featuring Ms. Kennedy, click here.

Blog Archive

Popular Posts