New And Returning Faces Reflect On The March On Washington

Tens of thousands of people congregated in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom — one of the largest civil rights rallies in American history, and the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his indelible "I Have A Dream" speech.

Wandering around the National Mall with my camera allowed me to envision what it would have been like to attend the original event in 1963. I set out into the crowd and found people who were there on that day 50 years ago — as well as many others who were there for the first time.

Faces On The National Mall

  • Made Me An Activist

    Gerald Bundy

    hide captionGerald Bundy

    Chloe Coleman/NPR

    Gerald Bundy of Philadelphia was 13 when his older cousin convinced him to go to the March on Washington in 1963. Bundy returned 50 years later to celebrate the anniversary.

    When he looks back on it now he believes the experience "made me more cognizant of social justice; made me an activist."

  • All Of Our Heroes Were Here

    Judith Howell

    hide captionJudith Howell

    Chloe Coleman/NPR

    Judith Howell was 15 when she participated in the 1963 March. "All of our heroes were here," she says. "We didn't ask for autographs, but we were just in awe of these people. ... A hush fell over the crowd when Martin Luther King started speaking. People stopped amen-ing and just listened."

  • Importance Of Love And Acceptance

    Ryan Martin-Yates

    hide captionRyan Martin-Yates

    Chloe Coleman/NPR

    Ryan Martin-Yates traveled from Cleveland to participate in the 50th anniversary of the March. He noted the importance of the message of love and acceptance in the day's events, a message he tries to live by.

  • Attending Together

    Diamond Styles (left) and Karla Styles

    hide captionDiamond Styles (left) and Karla Styles

    Chloe Coleman/NPR

    Diamond Styles and her partner, Karla Styles, came to the anniversary as a couple. They say it was significant to them that they could attend the event together.

  • A Big Deal Everywhere

    Vickie Leonard

    hide captionVickie Leonard

    Chloe Coleman/NPR

    Vickie Leonard recalled at the age of 15 watching the March on television in her home state of Kansas. "The March was a big deal everywhere," she says.

  • Fighting The Same Battles

    Josephine Ball

    hide captionJosephine Ball

    Chloe Coleman/NPR

    Dr. Josephine Ball was in her 30s when she attended the 1963 March. "I knew what I was getting into and definitely wanted to be here," she says. "I've been fighting for rights all my life."

    Ball says she worries that there is not as much enthusiasm to fight today as there was in 1963. "There was so much excitement, so much enthusiasm, so much joy, it's hard to explain the feeling. ... It's so hurtful we have to fight the same battles over and over again."

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