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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid