The Second March

The call for a return march echoed around the nation. And on the morning of January 24, King Center organizers discovered there were thousands more marchers—some of whom came from as far as Nigeria—than they could even transport to Cumming. Around 20,000 made the trip up Georgia 400 and marched in defiance of the previous weekend’s violence.

More than 2,500 National Guard soldiers and state law enforcement officers coordinated with federal law enforcement and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office to protect the marchers from thousands of gathered white supremacists. Their efforts helped prevent a repeat of the previous weekend’s violence.

After arriving in the courthouse square, the massive throng of cheering and chanting activists drowned out the screams of racist counter-protestors. They listened to speeches from Williams, Coretta Scott King, Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, and comedian Dick Gregory, among others. Many other notable politicians joined the march, including U.S. Congressman John Lewis, U.S. Senators Sam Nunn and Wyche Fowler, and civil rights activists Jesse Jackson, Ralph David Abernathy, and Benjamin Hooks, executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).