Locals recall the March on Washington - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Florence pair recall the March on Washington

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FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) On a hot August day, thirty Florentines began their journey to the capital at the Florence train station. Two of those people said back in 1963 they had no clue just how widespread and far reaching the message they were about to hear would be.

"The speakers were there and they were announcing how many people were on the grounds. It went from 10,000 to 20,000, 50 thousand," said Dr. Allie Brooks.

Dr. Allie Brooks is now the superintendent for Florence School District One. He along with Wilson High School History teacher Eva Grant were just 17-years-old and classmates when they were hand selected and sponsored to go to the historic March on Washington.

"I can tell you exactly what I wore. A green skirt and a pink blouse," said Eva Grant.

The Tuesday night before the trip, Florentines had a rally at The Mount Zion African American Episcopal church.

"There were persons from all over the Pee Dee that were there and after the rally there were about 30 of us from Florence, leaving from Florence," said Dr.Brooks.

And with a $75 round ticket in hand Eva Grant and Dr. Brooks boarded a train to Washington's National Mall, where they met up with more than 200,000 people to March for social, Justice and equality.

"We knew the struggles and the issues of that day remain today. You're talking about education, you're talking about jobs," said Brooks.

Dr. Brooks said, for the hundreds of thousands in attendance showing their support, there was a looming cloud overhead. There was concern that such a large crowd and the opposition against that crowd would cause a riot just blocks away from the white house. That concern took a backseat when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took center stage.

"When he took his prepared notes and pushed them aside, and his Baptist preacher oratory came into play and it was one of the most significant speeches that could ever be heard," said Dr.Brooks

Dr. Brooks and Eva Grant say that speech still resonates with them today.

"Every person has worth and dignity. And it's our job as educators to pull out what is hidden  within them, that they think they don't have," said Eva Grant.

"What we need to understand in this world in this Pee Dee area, we need to understand that we are all in this together," said Dr. Brooks.

Dr. Brooks and Eva Grant said one of the biggest lessons learned at the March on Washington is simply the Golden Rule.Treat others the way you want to be treated.

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