by Elizabeth Stevens
Published Aug. 28, 2013 in The Abliene Reporter
It was a time of terror and trouble. In the years before and after the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963, there were repeated and widespread acts of violence.
In Birmingham, Ala., earlier that summer, four young black girls died in a church bombing. Near Philadelphia, Miss., less than a year later, three Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) civil rights workers: Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman were murdered and buried in an earthen dam.
Nevertheless, on that hot summer day 50 years ago, an estimated 250,000 people peacefully came to Washington, D.C., from all over America. They gathered downtown in the long Mall between the Capitol and the Potomac River. Around the spire of the Washington Monument, beneath the spreading trees, beside the long, quiet reflecting pool, and as close as they could get to the great, marble-columned memorial containing the statue of Abraham Lincoln, they waited.
It was there, at the broad white steps of the Lincoln Memorial that the leaders of the march had gathered. Among them were: A. Philip Randolph, director of the march and founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Roy Wilkins, leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Rabbi Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Council and a Berlin rabbi of the Hitler era; and Walter Reuther, leader of the United Automobile Workers (UAW).
One by one, leaders exhorted the listening crowd. Randolph described the gathering as