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NAACP chapter marks March on Washington

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany-Dougherty National Association for the Advancement of Colored People former president William Wright and his staff performed what might be their final official duties Friday at a rally on the steps of the Goverment Center to mark the 47th Anniversary of the March on Washington and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

Wright and other officers were ordered removed from office recently by the NAACP's national office, which cited non-compliance with NAACP policy, including the by-laws for units.

The surprising dismissals cast a pall over a gathering meant to mark one of the most momentous occasions in the history of the civil rights movement.

"We are saddened and surprised by the actions taken by the national (NAACP) office," Wright said. "We have filed a notice with both the state and national offices requesting a hearing on the matter as soon as possible."

The 1963 March on Washington brought more than 250,000 people to the nation's capital. The march and King's "I Have a Dream" speech helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"The march was the single largest demonstration for freedom and justice up to that time," Wright said. "What would America be like today had it not been for that march? For instance, would there still be segregated facilities in every aspect of our social lives?

"We can never repay the marchers for all that we presently enjoy in spite of many of the lingering effects of present-day subtle discrimination."

Wright also pointed out that Fox News' Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, scheduled today at the Lincoln Memorial (where King gave his speech), has caused great concern among NAACP members.

"We are extremely distressed that Glenn Beck and the tea party received permission from the National Park Service to hold a rally at the Lincoln Memorial," Wright said. "We are concerned that Beck and the tea party will attempt to desecrate the occasion (of the March on Washington)."

Beck's rally is expected to draw 300,000 people.