Interview with Ivanhoe Donaldson


Ivanhoe Donaldson:

Well…I think the March on Washington, myself, was in fact what it was. Major demonstrations create a sense of, of anticipation that the millennium is forthcoming; that change to going to be imminent. I think that there is a tendency by a lot of people in demonstrations like the March on Washington to build them into far more than they are. The March on Washington by the leadership, the civil rights leadership conference that put it together and the coalition of civil rights organizations was an attempt to put bring a greater pressure on the White House—at the White House's desire in many ways. For a greater punch and support for the civil rights legislation which was on the Hill. That was the reason it was organized, that was the reason it was organized. That was the reason it was pulled off. Jobs and freedom now and all the sloganeering. I think that a lot of people felt, because of the drama and the vast greatness of it all that somehow or another we had turned the mystical corner in the struggle and not necessarily the millennium was forthcoming but that a new era of humanity and social consciousness and social justice was now on the table and that didn't happen. I think that frustrated a lot of people. There was always a dialogue both among SNCC activists within sectors of this nationalist community and demonstrations like this really did not accomplish much. They created a lot of hoopla, a lot of drama, but didn't accomplish much. There's some truths in what they say: there's also the fact that they do some education, they create some public awareness. So that the, the rhetoricians and the activists are correct when they say there was no major accomplishment because of the march. But at the same time it does represent a continuum, a struggle, and the need from time to time to create exclamation points and question marks and commas so people can define themselves in some time frame which is also important to an organizer—to bring something to a culmination, to take people to a next step. So it was a cynicism I think and a frustration more than anything real.