Remembering the March on Washington
50 years ago this week, hundreds of thousands descended upon Washington D.C. for one of the largest protest marches of the civil rights movement. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with Champaign-Urbana native Bill Smith about what it was like to be there. We’ll also talk with Sundiata Cha-Jua about the march’s historical significance.
In 1963 when he made the trip from Champaign to Washington D.C., Bill Smith was 21. As an active member of the NAACP chapter at the University of Illinois, he says he remembers feeling awed and inspired by the sheer number of other people who were gathered at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Even as a high school student at Champaign Central, he says he was involved with bringing the blacks and whites together. But it was when he returned from the march that he says he was motivated to really become an agent for change.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Smith about his experience at 1963 March on Washington; his relationship with his long-time mentor Erma Bridgewater, and about the racial climate during the 1960’s in east central Illinois.
We’re also joined by Sundiata Cha-Jua, an Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign about the significance of the march in the context of the larger movement and about Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
Did you know someone who marched in a protest during the 1960’s? Did you? What was it like to be a part of one? We want to hear from you this hour on Focus!
How we think about food, how we prepare food and how we eat food is constantly changing. It’s mind-blowing to think about how much food changes over the course of a decade, let alone several hundred years. What are your favorite dinner dishes? Have you ever wondered how they evolved into the recipes you know and love? This hour on Focus, Lisa Bralts talks with author William Sitwell about the history of food….and when we say history, we mean deep history. We’ll go back to the 1400’s when royals were eating feasts prepared from recipes calling for an entire pig, and we’ll learn more about when the fork became a fixture in Western culture.
Why 100 recipes, you ask? We’ll find out during this episode of Focus.
In 1870, Frances Willard proclaimed before the Illinois General Assembly that it was an “insult” that 21 year old boys could vote to make laws for their mothers but that the mothers themselves had no voice. More than three decades later, she, among several others, finally convinced enough lawmakers that was true. In 1913, Illinois gave women the right to vote in Presidential elections. The catch – the bill for women’s suffrage did not apply to gubernatorial elections or elections for state representatives, congressmen or senators, yet.
This hour on Focus, we’ll remember the men and women who pushed for women’s suffrage in Illinois, and those who pushed back. Mark Sorensen, who has written extensively about suffrage in the state, joins us. He’ll tell us about some of the key players who fought for the bill and how the state worked to dissuade female voters from exercising their new right to vote. We’ll also talk Professor Virginia Boynton of Western Illinois University about why it took so long for women to be granted the right to vote in the first place.