Written by Joan S. Dentler
Fifty years ago today, my in-laws Helen and Bob Dentler left their three young children---my husband Eric, his sister Deborah, and brother Robin---with Helen's parents at their Washington D.C. home so they could be a part of the peaceful demonstration taking place just a few miles away in the nation's capital.
The March on Washington was a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement. Helen and Bob were among 250,000 people from around the country who came to walk the mile between the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial in a demonstration for racial and economic equality.
After their parents' death, just nine month apart in 2008, Helen and Bob’s children discovered a banner in a box in the attic. The crimson-colored banner read: “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Let the World Know We Want Freedom. I Was There, August 28, 1963.”
“There were widespread rumors the march might turn violent. My dad heard 19 year-old Bob Dylan sing at the demonstration with Odetta, and he bought me my first Dylan album, which I still have and still listen to, on vinyl. 'Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call, don't stand in the doorways, don't block up the halls...' I'm pretty sure I can still sing every song on the album,” said Deborah Dentler in a Facebook posting.
Whether you were there in person or in spirit--what are your memories of the March on Washington?