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Remembering the March on Washington, 50 years ago today

August 28, 2013
By the Rev. Canon William D. Small

Singing the stanza "We are not afraid" of the classic song of the civil rights era, "We Shall Overcome," together with that enormous crowd of humanity, afterward estimated to be about 300,000, was highly ironic for me. I was fearful, and I had been from the very beginning of that morning on Aug. 28, 1963, as I walked toward the Lincoln Memorial with several fellow clergy with whom I had shared sleeping space on the floor of a Georgetown church the night before. It was eerily quiet. No one talked as we walked. All I could hear was the drone of buses, lots of buses, bringing people from all over America. It just seemed so quiet! I have wondered since that day whether it really was quiet or was it a stillness, a momentous stillness which left me quietly alone with my thoughts. I kept thinking that this was just the place and time for a bomb to explode. After all, there had been violence, a lot of violence ... even in Albany, my hometown at the time.



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