News / USA

    People Remember Historic 1963 March on Washington

    People Remember Historic 1963 March On Washingtoni
    X
    August 29, 2013 6:25 PM
    Fifty years ago, civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led a march that changed the lives of all Americans. On August 28, 1963, King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to a crowd of more than 250,000 people in Washington. The event turned out to be a watershed moment in American history. VOA's Chris Simkins introduces us to some of the people who took part in the march five decades ago, and the impact it had on them.
    Chris Simkins
    Fifty years ago, civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led a march that changed the lives of all Americans. On August 28, 1963, King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to a crowd of more than 250,000 people in Washington. The event turned out to be a watershed moment in American history.

    Tens of thousands gathered around the Lincoln Memorial to mark the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington on Wednesday.

    The 1963 demonstration led by Martin Luther King Jr. came at a time of great racial unrest, as the country sought to end long entrenched laws that discriminated against African Americans.

    Five decades later, Pat Newton from Maryland returned to march again. Newton remembers the power King's 'I Have a Dream' speech had in propelling equal opportunities for African Americans.

    "The 'I Have a Dream' speech really did something to me as I grew older. Because of the things that they [civil rights demonstrators] did I was able to get a job in the White House. I would have never been able to do that coming directly out of high school. Because of the roads that they paved, we were able to do a lot more," said Newton.

    Many of the people who attended the original march in 1963 returned to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool to commemorate a great moment in American history.

    Martin Mcadoo from North Carolina was 19 years old when he came to Washington in support of equal rights for African Americans.

    "We were basically following a movement, but we never knew that particular event in the movement would have had the historical value that it turned out to have," he said.

    Rowland Scherman was the government's (USIA) primary photographer for the March on Washington. He took thousands of photographs capturing a big part of American history.

    "It seemed as though the stories was in the faces. You can see the reaction and the emotions of the people," he recalls.  

    One of Scherman's photos captures 12-year-old Edith Lee-Payne. Her picture became an iconic image of the demonstration.

    "Part of panning through that crowd there was this one, and she was so pretty and she was so interested. I was just drawn to her. I am really proud of that picture and it is being used all over the place," he said.

    Lee-Payne returned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the march after meeting photographer Scherman for the first time.

    "That was a wonderful experience to see the man behind the camera that saw my face and captured what I was feeling without knowing what I was feeling," she said.

    Scherman's photographs were locked away at the National Archives. But thanks to a television documentary called "Eye on the Sixties" by filmmaker Chris Szwedo, many of Scherman's photographs are being seen for the first time.

    The photo has made Edith Lee-Payne a celebrity among those who attended the first march. Her memories of that day remain strong.

    "I applauded now more in retrospect the people that stood here 50 years ago of all races, creeds and colors, knowing that what was happening in the South wasn't right even though it wasn't happening to them. There were many people who joined and we couldn't tell one from the other," she added.

    Some of those who attended the 1963 march and returned for the 50th anniversary said they are determined to keep King's dream of racial equality alive and do what they can in their own communities to bring about positive change.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora