JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va - Starting on Wednesday, Washington D.C. will be the site of a week long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of March on Washington, and Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. On Tuesday, a local man who attended that march a half a century ago, reflected on that experience.
Even though James Tolbert of Charles Town, didn't have a chance to see the "I have a dream" speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, he still remembers participating in Martin Luther King Jr's March on Washington in 1963, a day that changed his life forever.
"More people than I have ever seen before, there were just two of us," said James Tolbert, who marched 50 years ago. "There were a lot of inspirational speakers that day."
Tolbert says the march inspired him to continue his civil rights activism especially equal education in Jefferson County, back in the 1960's.
"It did affect our children, our grandchildren, a lot of students that were in school, so we still had that particular fight, and we had fight for equal education ever since," said James Tolbert, who marched 50 years ago.
"Right after that you saw two things happen, you saw the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Act of 1965, that is almost a direct result of the March on Washington," said George Rutherford of Jefferson County NAACP.
George Rutherford, the president of the Jefferson County NAACP, is attending an anniversary march this Saturday. He hopes the march will inspire a new generation of African-Americans.
"I sort of hope this will be a revival of 1963, more of less try to what the march of 1963 did," said George Rutherford of Jefferson County NAACP.
The week-long commemoration begins tomorrow, with a service at Mt. Airy Baptist Church then concludes the following Wednesday with "Let Freedom Ring" ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial.
Rutherford says a group of people from Jefferson County will attend this Saturday's anniversary march. Everyone is invited, the group will meet 6 a.m. at the Food Lion by Route 340 in Charles Town, then caravan to D.C.