ON THE MARCH—Marchers coming down Independence Avenue headed to the Washington Monument.
NAACP Pittsburgh Unit President Connie Parker, who took a busload of 50 to the anniversary, agreed, saying it was a beautiful day and an invigorating experience seeing so many people, but the fact that they had to be there showed there is much left undone.
“I found a nice spot where I could see the crowd, all ages, all colors; there were a lot of people with other issues, but it’s the anniversary of an event that gave them the opportunity to do that,” she said. “And some of the issues are universal. I don’t know how happy Dr. King would be especially with the state of Black education, and the shootings, and the out of control police. As far as that goes, it might as well be 1963 or worse.”
LET THE MARCH BEGIN—Media standing in front of the people who are going to march.
Chase Patterson, who along with the Adonai Center for Human Capital Development, took a bus of 50 people—most between the ages of 15-24, said it was a great experience—especially having his 7-year-old niece and 8-year-old godson along.
“I’ve learned a lot about the original march, and it was great to feel the power I’d heard people talk about and to be part of history,” he said. “But it wasn’t just the experience, it was the charge—we’ve come a great distance but are still far from fulfilling the dream.
“It was great to see 100,000 people empowered, and to know that when I’m 80, these kids can come back and remember. Hell yeah, I’ll go with them—but I’ll be riding a push buggy.”
Black Political Empowerment Project President Tim Stevens actually had an old college friend, John Robison using a scooter, on the trip.
“The Merton Center was wonderful. The neat thing about it was all those people supporting each other. We had 9-year-olds and someone 87. Evelyn Hawkins, who used to be on WDUQ, came from Michigan to ride with us,” he said. “It was great to make a statement that the work of 1963 is not done, and to know you’re not alone.”
Other groups, including B-PEP and the Thomas Merton Center also took buses to the event.
Lois “Toni” McClendon, who rode with them, said she remembers watching the original March on television, so it was a pleasure to attend the anniversary.
“I’ve been an activist for a long time, and it was an experience to be with so many young people, and old people, and women. It was part of history.”
There were a total of 10 buses from Pittsburgh.
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