Letter of the Day (Aug. 28): March on Washington

  • Updated: August 27, 2013 - 7:08 PM
hide

People listen to speakers during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Saturday, August 24, 2013.

Photo: Olivier Douliery, MCT

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

I was a 17-year-old self-proclaimed “jock” from suburban New Jersey when a friend asked me to join her synagogue on a civil-rights march in Washington. With parental support, I ventured forth.

Our bus arrived early, so I walked the reflecting pool to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I witnessed the preparations and eventually the speakers and singers, and ultimately saw the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver the “I have a Dream” speech.

Separated from my group and hemmed into place by the crowd on the steps, I knew my life would be forever changed. I hadn’t bargained for transformation in its very essence.

As King spoke, I turned away to the watch the sea of people spreading across the mall and beyond, and I fixated on a man in a black suit, black tie and hat with a sign that I believe said “We Shall Overcome.”

My lasting impression was that this man and others dressed in their elegant best, with tears streaming down their faces, smiling and saying “amen” after each phrase. I knew at that moment that my life’s work would be for the sake of service to a dream of a better world.

CRAIG NEAL, Minneapolis

The writer is cofounder of Heartland Inc., a social enterprise organization, and is a former publisher of Utne Reader magazine.

  • related content

  • Minnesotans remember March on Washington

    Sunday August 25, 2013

    Among those in the Minnesota delegation were local civil-rights activists Josie Johnson and Matt Little. Johnson, now 82, and Little, now 92, reflect on the march and today's realities.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

  • about opinion

  • The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.

  • Submit a letter or commentary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close