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maybe starring Jean Claude von Damme and Dolph Lundgren wearing horned helms and codpieces. But I remember when the Cataclysm expansion hit,C. became a ghost town The city was prepared not so much for political theater but for a race riot Liquor stores shuttered their doors Washington Hospital canceled non-emergency surgeries The DC police stood at the ready with an additional 1000 troops and thirty helicopters President Kennedy was prepared to deploy 4000 more troops from the suburbs backed by 15000 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne based in North Carolina at the first sign of disturbance It was as if the city was preparing for an invasion White fear of racial violence was palpable Of course nothing of the sort happened People reveled in the spirit of the day Speeches were delivered Bob Dylan debuted his haunting tribute to Medgar Evers "Only a Pawn in Their Game" And Dr King famously dreamed of a nation finally rid of racism "where little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers" Only four people were arrested All of them were white The March on Washington was a high moment in a difficult year And James Baldwin was there He had organized support for the March in Paris and along with other artists delivered a powerful statement to the American embassy in support of the demonstration He eventually made his way back to the States for the event itself though he still had doubts about its value For Baldwin and many others the proposed March on Washington lived somewhat in the shadow of the recent violence of Birmingham On April 3 1963 Dr King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference launched a desegregation campaign in the notoriously racist and violent city Before the Birmingham protests only 4% of Americans believed civil rights was the countrys most pressing issue After Birmingham 52% of the country came to understand race as the most important issue It was here that King wrote his famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and it was here that the iconic images of Sheriff Bull Connor and his dogs and firehoses shocked the nation and the world who witnessed it all on their television sets The violence of Birmingham left many jaded Baldwin said after a meeting with Robert Kennedy about what was happening in Birmingham "we could petition and petition and march and march and raise money and give money until we wore ourselves out and the stars began to moan: none of this endeavor would or could reach the core of the matter it would change nobodys fate" This was the sensibility Baldwin brought to the March on Washington After the days events and Kings historic speech in a televised discussion with several Hollywood stars who also attended the march Baldwin voiced what he took to be the central challenge facing the nation "[A]t the risk of sounding mystical the first step probably has to be somewhere in the American conscience The American white republic has to ask itself why it was necessary for them to invent the nigger I am not a nigger I have never called myself one But one comes into the world and the world decides you are this for its own reasons And its very important for the American in terms of the future in terms of its health in terms of the transformation we are all seeking that he face this question that he needed the nigger for something" The March on Washington moved Baldwin As he wrote in No Name in the Street "That day for a moment it almost seemed that we stood on a height and could see our inheritance; perhaps we could make the kingdom real perhaps the beloved community would not forever remain that dream one dreamed in agony" Funny Even as he imagined what was possible in the afterglow of the March he knew there were difficult days ahead Just two weeks after the march on September 15 white folk answered back with unimaginable barbarity White Klansmen blew up the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama killing four young girls and leaving black people with a question that Toni Morrison would put in the mouth of one of her most memorable characters "What are these people You tell me Jesus What are they" Baldwin knew that something much more than politics much more than the political theater of a march would be needed to solve the ugly moral problem that sits at the heart of this Republic He urged the nation to confront that ugliness head on but the country has consistently refused to do so And here we are 54 years later celebrating the significance of the March on Washington and invoking Dr Kings dream in the full and frightening light of white supremacists marching in our streets of a presidential pardon for a modern-day Bull Connor Sheriff Joe Arpaio; a transgender ban in the military; and draconian immigration policies that suggest a corrosion of the soul We celebrate the March on Washington in the full light of the disaster of Donald Trump and his "presidency of hate" As it has always been much more is required of us than easy condemnations or the traditional theater of American racial politics James Baldwin was right 54 years ago today: The American white republic must answer once and for all the question that haunts it: why do you need niggers in the first place Contact us at [email protected] IDEAS TIME Ideas hosts the world’s leading voices providing commentary on events in news society and culture We welcome outside contributions Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors She was 68. We know that every brand makes mistakes. IDEAS TIME Ideas hosts the world’s leading voices,Gunmen have assassinated Mr Solomon Sani the United States of America, twitter.

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The state-media reporter next to me went back to his online shopping.