I didn’t actually march. I skipped because I was a child at the time, excited to see what was happening just a few hundred yards from where we lived in Washington, DC. So, holding my mother’s hand, my blonde pigtails flying, we went down 23rd Street.
As we neared the Lincoln Memorial, we heard Mahalia Jackson sing. She was very big in those days. I may have whispered to my mother just how big I thought she was.
August is invariably muggy and close in DC. But the atmosphere was terrific. Though inter-racial tensions may have been high, not for a moment did we feel out of place, let alone intimidated, and I’m sure other white people there didn’t either. Even my mother, who’s known for being chicken, never thought to turn back.
Curiosity took us there. Respect and awe kept us there. Yes, I heard Reverend Martin Luther King Jr make that speech. It is with me still.
My memories of the day are neither profound nor erudite. How could they be, when I was so young? Yet even now I remember it. That’s why MLK has a place on my wall and most of all in my heart.