Huntsville civil rights pioneer reflects on 50 year anniversary - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Huntsville civil rights pioneer reflects on 50 year anniversary

Dr. Hereford says equality has a long way to go. Dr. Hereford says equality has a long way to go.
Dr. Hereford in 1963. Dr. Hereford in 1963.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The 50th anniversary of the march on Washington marks a major milestone for those involved in the Civil Rights Movement, including Huntsville's own pioneer, Dr. Sonnie Hereford III.

Dr. Hereford and three other families were preparing to integrate their children into all-white schools 50 years ago. Unable to watch the first march in person, he watched from his living room on a little black-and-white television instead. He said he couldn't have been more proud.

Twelve days later, on Sept. 9, 1963, Dr. Hereford's six-year-old son became the first African-American student in Alabama to integrate. Dr. Hereford said the march was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement, and believes it had a great influence on Congress and a huge role in getting the Civil Rights bill passed. 

"I knew that the President was thinking about asking Congress to pass the Civil Rights bill, and I felt this march on Washington might influence Congress to go ahead and do it," Dr. Hereford recalls. "It appears that it did."

Dr. Hereford said we have come a long way with equality since the march, but that we still have a long way to go, and that he was glad to see women and people of many races participating in Saturday's anniversary march. He watched coverage of the march on television from the comfort of his living room, just as he did back in 1963.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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