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Friday, August 23, 2013 - 11:00am

Georgia Activists Are D.C.-Bound

Dozens of Georgia activists and politicians are bound for the nation's capital where they will join demonstrators from across the country in commemorating the 1963 civil rights march on Washington 50 years ago.

The Saturday even at the Lincoln Memorial is being organized by Martin Luther King III and the National Action Network, concert with other groups including the NAACP, National Urban League, labor unions, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference among others.

Sara Hunt, president of the National Action Network's Middle Georgia chapter, chartered a bus from Macon to D.C. for the occasion. Riders converged early Friday morning in the same Kroger parking lot where a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man last year -- an incident that inflamed racial tensions.

But something more recent was on the mind of Dublin businessman and former state House candidate Sheikh Rahman as he boarded the bus for Washington. "We've come a long way, we still have a long way to go," Rahman said. "If you look at the Voting Rights (Act), the Supreme Court just, you know... [laughs]"

"...desecrated it," Hunt said, completing the thought.

The court's ruling in June struck down part of the Voting Rights Act that extended special protections to minorities in states like Georgia with a history of racial bias at the polls, "after Dr. Martin Luther King fought so hard for it," Hunt said.

"And also, we still need jobs," she continued. "Everything that Dr. Martin Luther King marched for in '63, we're marching for the same things this time."

While most people today remember King's "I have a dream" speech at the original march and his plea for racial equality, the economy was on his mind as well. On the front page of The Macon Telegraph 50 years ago, the headline read: "Capital Marchers Demand More 'Jobs And Freedom.'"