Hundreds celebrate 50th anniversary of Civil Rights Act

Peaceful gathering inspires unity, vigilance
July 14, 2014

Fifty years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, more than 300 people gathered in Georgetown July 2, waving flags and carrying signs recalling the civil rights struggle and calling for continued efforts for justice and equality.

Sponsored by Sussex Unity, the march to began at St. Michael's Church on Edward Street and culminated beneath a tent in Bedford Park, with speeches and songs honoring the passage of the Civil Rights Act and offering inspiration to carry forward the spirit that led to the legislation.

Many people who attended the the event recalled the marches of the 1960s, noting the work that was begun 50 years ago is not finished. They called on the crowd to remain vigilant.

Cape Henlopen High School Chorale offered song, as did Booker Street Church of God Youth Choir and Greg Fuller. Millsboro resident Darien Jones, a 2013 Sussex Tech graduate and a sophomore at Morehouse College, presented President John F. Kennedy’s June 19, 1963 speech, in which he called on Congress to take action to ensure civil rights and especially voting rights.

Also speaking was the Honorable Battle Robinson, a U.S. Department of Justice attorney who worked on the Civil Rights Act, who presented Sen. Everett Dirkson’s monumental June 10, 1964 speech.

Diaz Bonville, West Rehoboth Children and Youth Program Director; offered President Lyndon Johnson’s remarks in signing the bill, while the Rev. John Moore Sr., Calvary Baptist Church Youth Pastor, powerfully delivered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dec. 10, 1964 Nobel Peace Prize speech.

Among the many who attended the walk were Milton Town Council member Estelle Parker-Selby, Jane Hovington of Lower Sussex NAACP, Jane Lord and Charlotte King of League of Women Voters of Sussex County, Bob Smith of Mid-Atlantic Cherokee, Bruce Little Drummer of Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape tribe, Eli Ramos of the Governor's Advisory Council on Hispanic Affairs, 2006-2011.