The March on Washington in Photographs

Uploaded by usnationalarchives on 10.01.2012

I lived in Detroit, Michigan, in the city on the west side of Detroit. My mother took
me to see Dr. King in Detroit as well as here in Washington, DC. August 28, 1963, was my
twelfth birthday. The buzz on the March on Washington started buzzing about a month beforehand
and as a freelancer, beginning freelancer, I did a lot of work for USIA and this job
came along. The caveat was that I would get paid twice my day rate but they would own
the negatives for the National Archives. I said, “OK, that’s fine,” not knowing
at the time that this was going to be one of the great historical moments of US history.
Part of our job as the Archives is to accession, preserve and make available records created
by federal agencies. One of the roles of the USIA was to kind of document, you know, what
America was all about, to project a view of the United States overseas to foreign countries
during the Cold War. And I was 26 or 27 years old and very spry and very athletic and I
climbed over everything and went everywhere and I photographed close-ups, long shots.
I worked pretty hard that day. OK, and what I’m gonna do now is take the folder out,
with the photos in it. These are the photos of the March on Washington. And this is a
copy of your photo, the photo here. I learned about the photo about two-and-a-half years
ago. My cousin was browsing a catalog and it had calendars in it, one of which was a
black history calendar. She saw my picture on the back and she called and said, “Your
picture is on a calendar and you’re holding a banner or a pennant or something.” So
I was just in shock. And I still am. She was in one of the front row of the crowd on sort
of the left side of where Martin Luther King made that speech. And I see some people laughing
and some people crying and some people earnest and she was one of the ones, not only was
she beautiful, but she was, she was so involved. This is the banner that I held August 28,
1963, that I proudly held up as Dr. King and others were speaking. I tell my grandchildren
that marching with Dr. King has, was a very significant part of my life. As they learn
about him in school they can share with their classmates that their grandmother was part
of something that was very important. Her picture was used and has been used since then
as the face of the March on Washington. She deserves it.