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

Italian Red Cross Chief: Don't Label Migrants 'Illegal'

Speaking at the United Nations headquarters in New York Wednesday Francesco Rocca says migrants are victims, not criminals More

US Intel Officials Cautious About New IS Threat

Threat, said to have been posted by alleged American member of Islamic State terror group, says Sunday’s attack in Texas ‘is only the beginning’ More

Eyes in Sky Monitor Weather, Predict Epidemics

Satellites track storms, population movements, ocean warming to predict disease conditions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

VOA Blogs