Gadsden residents remember historic march - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Gadsden residents remember historic march

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Two Gadsden residents reflected on the Washington, D.C. rally. (Photo: MGN Online) Two Gadsden residents reflected on the Washington, D.C. rally. (Photo: MGN Online)

For some in Alabama, it's easy to remember what the March on Washington was like fifty years ago.

More than two hundred and fifty thousand people took place in the highly anticipated event. While the march took place in Washington, D.C., much of the pre-march planning and organizing happened right here in Alabama.

The march was the largest civil rights demonstration in history. People from all over the country were there, including James Smith and Robert Avery, who hitchhiked their way from Gadsden to D.C.

Nearly twenty civil rights leaders were scheduled to speak, but Smith and Avery said it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who caught the crowd's attention. Smith said, "Once he stood up and started speaking, it just, you could hear crickets, that's just how quiet it was, you know, just drinking in his words and things."

After giving the famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the march, Dr. King was named Man of the Year in 1963 and 1964 by Time Magazine.

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