DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — It’s been 60 years since Dr. Martin Luther King J., delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington.

Saturday, thousands converged on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. to honor a defining moment for civil rights.

“Certainly, we commemorated it was about commemoration, but it was more about continuation.  So many rights that were fought for over the course of the last 60 years,” said Rev. Dr. Jay Augustine.  “There have been deliberate attempts to roll those rights back.  We are coming together now with a seriousness of purpose.”

Augustine, senior pastor at St. Joseph’s AME Church in Durham, attended the event Saturday.

He remembers going to the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington in 1993.  At the time he was a student at Howard University.

“I was somewhat in awe 30 years ago. I was in awe to be in the presence of such luminaries who had been on the battlefield and on the forefront in fighting for and protecting and advocating for the rights of others,” Augustine explained.  “(Saturday) was much more. Rather than being symbolic it was much more practical. It was hands-on. I recognized the torch, and the baton has been passed on to my generation of leaders.”



It’s why on Sunday, Augustine’s church also took time to reflect on the march.

“The church has always been as far as I’m concerned, and it always will be the epicenter, especially in the Black community. It is not a place where we engage in partisanship, but it is most certainly a place where we are incredibly political,” Augustine said. “Particularly in North Carolina where voting rights are again under attack with voter suppression laws. The church has got to place a role in advocating and educating.”

Monday, the King family is expected to meet with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to commemorate the occasion.