Honoring the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
by M. Alexis Scott, Former Publish of the Atlanta Daily World
Yesterday, as we marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed by President Lyndon Johnson, I attended the opening session of The Links, Incorporated 39th National Assembly. The Links was organized by a group of women in 1946 to work to improve life in African American communities at a time when Blacks were considered second class citizens.
It was remarkable to think about how far we've come. Fifty years ago we would not have been welcomed at a hotel like the Gaylord at National Harbor, MD. For "Whites Only," a sign would have read. Yet, the 3,300 attendees of the National Assembly were not only welcomed in the hotel, but the Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson joined us and extended a personal greeting of welcome.
Yes, we've come a long way, and yet, the struggle is not over. The 2014 Links Medal was presented to Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, an organization founded in 1910 in New York City to assist Blacks as they left the rural South to find jobs and greater opportunities.
In accepting the award, Morial noted that "significant change" has taken place over the last 50 years. However, he went on to say that "we have unfinished business." He said there is still voter suppression, schools are more racially and economically segregated then before, health disparities continue, and the income gap between the rich and the poor is bigger.
"I accept this award on behalf of all the unsung heroes and leaders who helped us get this far," Morial said. "But we need you now more than ever. We need you to serve and ensure the next generation is better off."
I agree. We still have work to do. Join me here, at The Center. Get involved and make a difference!