Martin Luther King Jr. Day - January 20th 2014.
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!" Martin Luther King Jr. August 28th 1963.
(photos from the march on Washington at MLK's speech at the Lincoln Memorial)
Over 50 year ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the civil rights leaders that marched to Washington for equality in jobs and for freedom. On August 28th, 1963 Martin Luther King gave one of the most historical speeches in American History on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.. Today we remember him, his impact on civil rights, and our service to America.
In August of 2013, I was on my way home to Michigan when I decided to visit my uncle and friends in Washington D.C. I arrived at my uncles on the 27th. He mentioned that there was a big celebration going on in D.C. for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. I had been traveling for a while, so did not know what was going on in the news, or remembered that it had been 50 years already. But I was excited to hear all this was going on while I was in town! I knew what ever I came across in the city, it would be an unbelievable experience to be apart of it, 50 years later. I had no idea what the next day would bring or how it would change me.
At 4:30am, I woke up and was ready for the day of excitement of listening to speeches at the Lincoln Memorial. I would hear civil rights leaders, actors, musicians and presidents give speeches remembering the fight for civil rights! I quickly packed my bag with my camera, telephoto lens, plastic bags (incase it rained to protect my camera/lens), umbrella, cell phone, and snacks. I was ready to go!
Waiting for the train early in the morning.
We arrived in the city around 6:45am. We parted ways and I wandered up to a Starbucks for coffee before finding my way to the Lincoln Memorial.
Walking across the street at 6:45am. It was a beautiful morning.
While walking to the Lincoln Memorial, I got lost looking for the waiting area. Yes, even with looking at a map and at my phone. I had no idea where to go, or if I could get close enough to see anything. I knew the general area and followed other people that looked like they were going to the waiting area too. At least I hoped they were.
On my way, I ran into a guy that had his umbrella, and camera gear. He was going there for sure I thought, so I asked him about the speeches later on today at the Lincoln Memorial. We started to talk and hung out for about 3 hours until we could go into the restricted area near the Lincoln Memorial. He knew a lot about what was going on, and went to many rallies/speeches in Washington. I figured I found a good person to hang with. He talked me through how it usually goes because I never been to anything this big before. I also talked with others who had been waiting in line for hours about their experiences at Martin Luther King Jr. speech years ago. Some people traveled very far to come back, 50 years later. I was in awe with their stories, and enjoyed our conversations.
When we arrived at the security area near the Lincoln Memorial at 7am. You can see the Lincoln Memorial behind the security.
We were pretty close to being the first people in line. 3 hours standing in one place to get to be the first ones through security.
After 3 hours we were able to go up to the Lincoln Memorial. Since I was with the first group of people that were let in, I got to be right in front...as close as the public could go! What an experience this was going to be!
The TV screen in front of the crowd.
When the crowd was moved into the safe section after going through security, we had to wait another 2 hours before the speeches started. We watched performers and speakers practice on stage.
Leann Rimes practicing her songs.
Leann Rimes on the big screen singing her songs!
The speeches and performances began!
Peter, Paul and Mary sang with Trayvon Martin's parents. Blowing in the wind.
Photographing the people photographing the crowds.
As I looked around at the thousands of people standing in the pouring rain, I thought about what it meant to be there now and 50 years ago. The fight for isn't over, but there is hope for a better tomorrow. As long as we never give up. The feeling I got being there, just listening to the speeches moved me in a way I never felt before. I was honored to stand there, and be apart of it all.
View of the people.
Forest Whitaker - You can see Oprah peeking through at the top of the Lincoln Memorial.
One of the moments I had been waiting for all day. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Obama and Michelle walking down the steps to take their seats!
Jimmy Cater, Bill Clinton, Obama and Michelle.
Taking their seats.
Jimmy Carter Speaking
Martin Luther Kings Jr. Daughter.
Everyone gathering around the bell to LET FREEDOM RING!
Photographer taking photos while Obama says his speech.
A view of the Lincoln Memorial shortly before Obama ended his speech.
View of the Lincoln Memorial.
The view from where I was standing.
I wasn't alive 50 years ago, and all I know about the March on Washington was what I have read, photos I have seen, and news clips. Being there 50 years later for the anniversary was an unbelievable experience that I will always cherish, and one I will never forget!