UPDATED: 8:00 a.m. Aug. 28, 2023
The importance of the calendar date August. 28 in the context of Black history in the United States gets underscored on an annual basis. This year, though, it should be no secret why the date is a big deal as the nation commemorates the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
On Saturday, civil rights leaders and organizations converged on the nation’s capital to amplify ongoing demands like renewing calls for voter protections that are being systematically stripped away from legally registered voters trying to cast ballots in local and national elections.
The rally was held in thew spirit of the first March on Washington in 1963 when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech. That is just one reason why August 28 is a date that will forever be important for Black Americans.
The day also marks some extreme highs and lows in Black history: a major political win; the death of a young boy whose name has been etched into the hearts of African Americans; and one of the most iconic moments in the civil rights movement. Ava DuVernay produced a film, August 28th, that was shown at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016.
Here are some snapshots of the seminal stories that give significance to this date.
Slavery Abolished In The U.K. – 1833
The Slavery Abolition Act was approved by Parliament on this day in 1833. The act abolished slavery in most British colonies and freed more than 800,000 enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and South Africa, as well as a small number in Canada.
The Murder Of Emmett Till – 1955
Till, a 14-year-old boy from Chicago, was abducted by two white men and brutally murdered while visiting family in Mississippi in 1955. The young man’s life was taken by the husband of Carolyn Bryant, a white woman who said the teen made advances toward her in a grocery store. Years later, in 2017, Bryant admitted to lying in her testimony about Till. Revelations from her leaked memoir last year renewed calls for justice, but she died in April without ever being held accountable for her role in young Emmett’s murder.
Martin Luther King Jr.‘s “I Have A Dream” Speech – 1963
Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom to a crowd of hundreds of thousands in 1963. “But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt,” King told the people in his address. “We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”
Barack Obama Wins Democratic Nomination For President – 2008
Obama gave his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado on this date in 2008. “This moment, this moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive,” Obama said.
Obama wears a tan suit
Yes, even this day of ridiculous partisan anger over the color of clothing worn by the president of the United States merits a mention on this list of notable Black occurrences on Aug. 28. It’s important to emphasize the pettiness of the scrutiny Obama faced as the nation’s first Black president who survived two terms without any real scandal — which is why the conservative-driven narrative that it was unpresidential to wear suits that were not dark should never be forgotten.
Andrew Gillum Won The Democratic Primary For Governor of Florida
Andrew Gillum, the then-mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, became the first African American to win the Democratic primary for governor of Florida on August 28, 2018. Gillum would have become the first African American to be governor in that state but would go on to lose to Ron DeSantis (and voter suppression). Hear him below on CNN talking about the night he won.
Actor Chadwick Boseman Passed Away
News of Chadwick Boseman’s untimely passing in 2020 hit hard. Many people were still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice uprisings. The revelation of his colon cancer diagnosis opened a new frontier in the dialogue about health disparities and Black people. The ripple effect of his death is still being felt by many across the internet, including Marvel’s Black Panther fandom.
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