March on Washington: Share Your Story
The National Education Association (NEA) is in search of personal stories and reflections about the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom from individuals who attended this historic event. If you were there or know someone who was, please take a few moments to complete the form below. What you share will be considered for use in NEA public communication and outreach efforts surrounding the upcoming 50th anniversary of the march. We will follow up appropriately on submissions that are selected for promotion.
Here are some of your stories. Keep sending them in!
“On the day of the event it was so crowded we couldn't get very close so it was difficult to see but the sound system was good and we were able to hear.
I remember feeling very proud that I was part of this event and that I was able to be counted. It turned out to be just the beginning for me. I went on to the Selma to Montgomery march (where I met Dr. King), worked for The Child Development Group of Mississippi in the summer of '65, worked in Newark, NJ for Students for a Democratic Society in their school program and when I graduated I came to California to work in the Oakland Public Schools for the next 40 years!”
• Harriet from California
“In 1963 there was no Metro, so I went to the Mall by bus (on the old DC Transit). The crowd was enthusiastic and the highlight came when Dr. King declared "I Have A Dream." I think we were all fully aware that we were participating in a great historic event and hearing a speech of similar import to the Gettysburg Address.
A couple of years later, my friend Jim Reeb, a minister at All Souls Unitarian Church in DC, was bludgeoned to death in Selma while there supporting voting rights. My Unitarian friends and I were horrified and seven of us from my church, Cedar Lane Unitarian Church, decided to get on one of the "freedom trains" to Alabama to join the march from Selma to Montgomery.
As we rode through Georgia, we were told to stay on the floor of the train car since there had been guns fired at other freedom trains. I had the honor of joining the march to Montgomery with Dr. King. Several of us were teachers and we had heard that black children from Alabama had said that they had no American flags in their schools. So we took flags with us to give to some of those children.
Several of them corresponded with me and some of my students at Wheaton for some time after that. I consider myself, as a student and teacher of history to have been fortunate to have witnessed two of Dr. King's great speeches and to have been able to meet and talk to Dr. King during the march from Selma.”
• Harry, from Maryland
“I went to Washington DC. We were a sea of humanity from the speakers platform. I seem to remember some union electricians wiring and mounting speakers that morning. I remember the voice more than the words. Not everyone was listening. I was. That Man and THAT speech changed a white kid from the west side of Chicago's life. I never looked at America quite the same way after THAT speech.”
• Bob from Illinois
“I was at Georgetown University for Peace Corps Turkey training the summer of 1963. The GU students had notices up about a group participating in the march. Quite a few of us Peace Corps trainees joined them walking behind a GU banner from the campus to the Lincoln Memorial.
It was hot and very crowded. I know there were speeches and songs. “
• Kathy from Virginia
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Resources: Learning about the March
2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award
There are committed and courageous men and women across America who have taken up the torch passed to us by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of those torch bearers is the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II of Goldsboro, NC. Rev. Dr. Barber combines powerful advocacy with purposeful action.