DENVER (CBS4) – The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was celebrated on Wednesday and it has personal meaning for a woman in Denver.

CBS4’s Gloria Neal talked with Lisa Gilford and she still vividly remembers that day in the nation’s capital.

Gilford said they came by the bus and train loads — all for the march, but she had no idea she would become a living witness to history.

“I knew the day was special, I didn’t realize how special,” Gilford said.

Gilford now lives in Denver, but when she was 15 she lived in New York City, and 50 years ago she was a witness to history. She says she was a bit reluctant because her mother was always taking her to marches when they lived in Greenwich Village.

“When she dragged me out of bed, as all of us were dragged out of bed that morning not realizing that this march was a whole lot different than the other marches we’d been on,” she said.

Gilford’s mother, Madeline, was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) that played a role in organizing the March on Washington.

Looking out at hundreds of thousands witnessing history, Gilford saw people who were politely marching for the right to be treated fairly, the right to work, and the right to live anywhere they wanted.

“When (Martin Luther King Jr.) left his speech and said, ‘I have a dream,’ it was like, ‘Whoa!’ And there wasn’t eyes not on that stage.”

She acknowledges the March on Washington and other protests from the 1960s have yielded progress, yet there is still work to be done.

“One would hope that you wouldn’t need a march for our grandchildren when they grow up. Wouldn’t that be great?”


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