March on Washington 2013: Signs of the Time

They came to D.C. to deliver a message. Here are our eight favorite protest signs.

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    Tracy Clayton

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. That old adage was definitely illustrated in the signs hoisted on the shoulders and above the heads of participants at Saturday’s commemorative March on Washington, celebrating the iconic demonstration’s 50th anniversary.

    Thousands of people marched through the same streets that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his cohorts did on that historic day, demanding many of the same rights: unimpeded voting access, living wages, justice for all. The signs of those pushing for change were as loud as their chants. Here are eight signs that captured the spirit of the day and the movement, old and new.

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    Tracy Clayton

    Kennedy Watkin-Myrie, Washington, D.C., via Jamaica

    There’s no better proof of Dr. King’s dream living on than seeing it thriving in our youth. Kennedy, her sign and her dream were a big hit at the march.

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    Tracy Clayton

    Brother Bullwhip, New York City  

    One of the original members of the Black Panther Party in New York, Brother Bullwhip and his sign called for the release of political prisoners held right here in our own backyards.

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    Tracy Clayton

    Annette and Latica Hicks, New Jersey; Ann Clark, Brooklyn, N.Y.  

    The continued insistence that black lives matter and are worthy of full personhood is a persisting message and was a significant theme at the march.

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    Tracy Clayton

    Janet Allen, Bowie, Md.; Vanessa Cheeves, Upper Marlboro, Md.; Debra Jones, Lanham, Md.

    The battle for a fair living wage was one in which Dr. King was fully invested and is still a pressing issue in today’s society. Many at the march picked up where Dr. King left off, pushing the cause forward.

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    Tracy Clayton

    South Side Residents, Chicago  

    Residents from the South Side of Chicago, known for being one of the city’s rougher sides, joined in the call for change. Their banner boasted pride in their city, and their presence sent a powerful message of the need and willingness to work for change.

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    Tracy Clayton

    Tony Wilson and Lonnie Ragin, Philadelphia

    The iconic image was revived for today’s march. It is sobering that the need for people to remind others of their humanity still persists today, but it is necessary, as seen in the cases of Sean Bell and Trayvon Martin. This sign is as fitting now as it was then.


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    Tracy Clayton

    Lea Adams Ashby and Wally Ashby, Washington, D.C.   

    Lea Adams Ashby shared that she had attended the original march with her father as a child, and spoke of his passion for winning D.C. statehood. She said that she was there “finishing unfinished business on the civil rights agenda.”

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    Tracy Clayton

    Alice Ragland, Cleveland  

    A grad student at Ohio University, Ragland carried a sign that was one of the most striking of all. The winning of justice is a long, complicated dance that should be as simple as the sign she held. The fight for it continued today, and as Dr. King said, it will continue until it rolls down like water.

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