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Bostonians Reflect On The March on Washington, 50 Years Later

In this Aug. 28, 1963 file photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, speaks to thousands during his "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in Washington. Actor-singer Sammy Davis Jr., is at bottom right. (AP)

In this Aug. 28, 1963 file photo, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, speaks to thousands during his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in Washington. Actor-singer Sammy Davis Jr., is at bottom right. (AP)

August 28, 1963. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his iconic “I have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning, ” King said.

250,000 people flooded the nation’s capitol for the historic March on Washington…for Jobs and Freedom. Some 4000 of them traveled from Boston, one of the largest contingent of marchers from any American city. They came to hear Dr. King, and they returned home with the message delivered by March director, and the dean of American civil rights leaders, A. Philip Randolph.

This weekend, thousands returned to the national Mall to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. Tomorrow, President Barack Obama will speak from the same spot where King stood at the Lincoln Memorial.

We’ll talk with Boston-area marchers who were there in 1963, and this weekend. And we’ll talk about what it was like 50 years ago, and where we are today, not only in Washington, but in greater Boston, an area with its own complicated civil rights history.

Guests

Michael Curry, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP.

Sarah-Ann Shaw, lifelong civil rights activist and Roxbury native, and a television reporter for WBZ-TV for more than 30 years. She was at the March on Washington in 1963.

Jane Bowers, longtime Bostonian and community activist. She was at the March on Washington in 1963.


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