Monday, January 17, 2011

March on Washington

On August 28th, 1963, my mom was in Washington, D.C. at the March on Washington.  She heard Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech in person.  Today, on the day which we annually honor Martin Luther King, Jr. I thought it'd be nice to recount her experience.  

She only has a few pictures, none of which have her in them, but some that she took during the day.  Below the pictures is her brief account.  I emailed her yesterday and I said, "Would you jot down a paragraph of how you got there and stuff?"   She replied and I just cut and pasted what she wrote,  it's her quick account of her memory of the day.  What an amazing experience.  

I was 19 and working at the Harvard Law Library that summer down in the depths renumbering books. The fellow I was working with, Eddie, agreed with me that we should go. We joined the group from Boston going down, I don't remember where, got on a Greyhound and it took about 10 hrs., all night, to get to Baltimore. We got off the bus and they had something for us to eat, got back on the bus and drove into DC. As I recall, there were many buses in our caravan but once we got to DC I remember being overwhelmed by the miles of buses coming in and parking.

I remember long lines of tables with cheese sandwiches that we could eat. Eddie and I walked along the Reflecting Pool, people were gathering, but we decided to find some shade so walked back to the Washington Monument and sat on the hillside in the monument's shade. There were loud speakers set up around the whole area so we could hear all the speeches. We were really too far away from the Lincoln Memorial to pick out individuals.

I do remember MLK giving the speech and being interested in his cadence, seeing so many black people (having lived in a town with only two black families) and wondering where everyone was from. It was said that people came from all over the country and it was the largest group of people ever to congregate in one place in the U.S., 250,000 people.

After the speeches we got back on the bus and rode back to Boston.

I wonder sometimes what great event I can tell my own children about when they are older.  Unless they want to hear about the time I went to the American Idol finale and saw Fantasia win or the time we heard Bill Cosby speak at daddy's college graduation but somehow I doubt that will ever compare to Nana's story of being at the March on Washington. 

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  1. that is sooo amazing. i wonder, too, what great event we will tell our children about. ryan was very interested in 9/11 last year b/c it was the year he was born. i often wonder if there is going to be some great event to happen to us in our lifetime that we can share with our kids. i have taken my kids to support rallies and they have always, since birth, gone with me to vote. your mom is an amazing woman and your kids are so lucky to have her and that great event to educate them with.

  2. i meant what great event that is more positive, something that we will do to change the lives of people in the positive other than the great tragic event of 9/11.

  3. Sooo awesome! Did she feel like she was a part of history at that moment or just another person in the crowd listening to a bunch of speeches?

  4. WOW! Talk about being a part of history! This is one reason you blog about things like this. One day, your kids will read this, and they will be so proud that their Nana was a part of something as amazing as this. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Ok, so I don't know you (I found your blog via Dana Dill's "Dillightful Musings" blog, but I really enjoyed hearing this story about your mom. How amazing that she experienced that moment in our country's history first hand. Love the photos~ thanks for sharing!

  6. That is so cool! Love it! And don't worry about having some great over-the-top experience to share with your kids when they get older...all of our experiences shape us, it's never just one thing. :-)


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