Historic march to be celebrated

August 25, 1998|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

More than 500 Anne Arundel County residents are expected to turn out tonight to mark the 35th anniversary of the landmark civil rights March on Washington, when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

Event chairman Carl O. Snowden said the celebration at Anne Arundel Community College's Pascal Center for the Performing Arts likely is the only one of its kind in the state.

"The march was a turning point in history," Snowden said, "but it was also an important moment in Anne Arundel County and the state. It was instrumental in breaking down barriers of segregation in the county in housing, jobs and education that many people today take for granted."

The flood of people responding to invitations and fliers has surprised some of the organizers, who were particularly pleased when almost 50 county residents who joined the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, sent in pictures and letters describing their experience.

Today, some of those marchers are prominent in the county, including Anne Arundel County Orphan's Court Judge Mary Sellman Jackson; Cynthia Abney Carter, the first black woman elected to the Annapolis city council; and Annapolis Alderman Samuel Gilmer, all of whom will be at the celebration.

"Many young people look at the March on Washington as ancient history," said Snowden, a longtime civil rights activist and former Annapolis alderman. "Really, it was only three-and-a-half decades ago and so much has changed."

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend will address the audience. Her father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was dedicated to the civil rights movement and was assassinated shortly after King.

In addition to the college, event sponsors include the Unity Now Committee, the county YWCA, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the state Department of Juvenile Justice. Snowden said organizers decided to hold the event three days before the anniversary of the march in hopes that more people could come on Tuesday than Friday. Seating for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., is on a first-come, first-served basis. All are welcome. Information: Carl Snowden, 410-541-2313.

Pub Date: 8/25/98

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