August 29, 2013
By Xavier Higgs
LAWT Contributing Writer
As the nation paid tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, Southern California was able to commemorated iconic event in a unique way.
Using the Online Engagement Experience, PBS viewers were able to converse electronically while watching PBS. The 52-minute online event originated from the KOCE studio in Costa Mesa, CA. It gave online participants the opportunity to ask questions of a panel that included Bobby McDonald, President of the Black Chamber Orange County, Dr. Patricia Adelekan, retired educator, and Rev. Elmer Redding, Assistant Pastor Bryant Temple A.M.E. Church.
“We want to highlight the 50th Anniversary of the March, and remind people of that experience,” says McDonald.
He added that PBS SoCal wanted to use new technology to allow more people to be engaged.
Dr. Adelekan recalled meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who would often visit her hometown of Columbus, Ohio at the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church. She said it was during one of his visits in early 1963 he announced the plan for a March on Washington to bring to the attention a need for justice and equality for minorities in this country.
The scripted program seem to flow including the panel discussions, segments about the creation of the MLK Memorial on the Washington Memorial, as well as questions originating from a companion event at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles.
Rev. Redding and Dr. Adelekan attended the March on Washington in 1963. Both remembered how dissatisfied most African Americans were with the state of affairs in America.
Ironically, at that time, neither of them was fully aware of the historical significance of the March.
Rev. Redding was 11 years old, and was taking to the March by his father who insisted they attend.
“We push our way as close to the Lincoln Memorial as we could, says Rev. Redding.” They arrive just in time to hear Mahalia Jackson singing and just before Dr. Martin Luther King speech.