Crowd Praises Progress after 50 Years; Cautions Vigilance

By Tom Sherwood
|  Saturday, Aug 24, 2013  |  Updated 3:27 PM EDT
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Crowd Praises Progress after 50 Years; Cautions Vigilance

AP

Crowds rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013. Fifty years ago, on the actual anniversary, April 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

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From the D.C. rally for statehood and voting rights before the anniversary march to the tens of thousands who packed the National Mall and from the older and infirm who put on their marching shoes again to those not old enough to have been present 50 years ago, the message from the crowd reverberated across generations.

Prince George's county resident Hazel Dickens-Burnett, of Ft. Washington, knew segregation growing up.

“It was just horrible,” she said. “We were raised as Lutherans and the early morning service was for whites only and for later in the evening was for the black African Americans.”

Young Howard University law students learned about what is was like 50 years ago during their history classes.

“The most amazing thing for me is seeing the people who were here 50 years ago and younger children here,” said student Valerie Eguabon. “It’s just amazing. There have been so many students yelling Howard today. It’s pretty exciting.”

“I’m just glad to be a part of everything. It’s good to see people of all different backgrounds out,” said student Elliott Moody. “We’re just here cherishing the moment.”

“Right now, I’m just happy to be here,” said student Simone Cope. “I’m ecstatic to see so many people who still feel strongly about our rights and that’s there’s such a huge turnout today.

The crowd swelled on a warm, but pleasant day, as speakers spoke of progress after 50 years, but those in the crowd talked about the need to stay active.

“Today, it’s not only about racial equality and justice, but for jobs and all our rights that are being eroded every day,” said David McLimann from Pennsylvania.

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