Created on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 Written by THE BELLEFONTAINE EXAMINER STAFF
Local lawyer, friend recount March on Washington
“Martin Luther King’s message was always one of nonviolence and the people there that day knew that. It’s not like there was tension and people were ready to explode; it wasn’t there. It was thousands of complete strangers who had come together for a peaceful march.”
Tom O’Connor | Local lawyer and former judge
When Logan County resident Tom O’Connor and his friend Monk Malloy left downtown Washington, D.C., 50 years ago today, they didn’t realize they had just witnessed a piece of history in the making.
It was a hot late summer day in the nation’s capital Aug. 28, 1963, as the duo met for the March on Washington and what would culminate with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s now famous “I Have a Dream” speech, both men recounted this past week.
“The event itself impressed me greatly, but I remember when you were on the ground, it was hot and sweaty and the Rev. King was the 10th of 10 speakers,” Mr. O’Connor said. “I can’t say I remember exactly what he was saying, but it was the whole experience of the day.
“If you consider the Gettysburg Address wasn’t received historically as a great speech, this was much the same way. But like the Gettysburg Address, it has grown over time to become a great speech,” the local patent attorney and former municipal court judge said.
Father Malloy, who went on to become president of Notre Dame University, echoed those sentiments in a telephone conversation.
“When you are at an event like that, you don’t realize immediately it is a significant piece of history,” he said. “It was more of an event as the experience of the whole. You are just going with the flow and then when it’s all done you go home safely.”
|LEFT: The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. Today, the nation’s first black president will stand near the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. stood 50 years ago, a living symbol of the racial progress King dreamed about, and enunciate where he believes this nation should be headed. (AP FILE PHOTO) RIGHT: The exact location where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, is marked at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak today at a ceremony on the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. (AP PHOTO | PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS)|
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Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" Speech: http://www.archives.gov/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf