Living history: Four stories from the March on Washington

On Aug. 28, 1963, at the March on Washington, scores of unheralded participants filled the Mall. To mark the 50th anniversary of the day, The Washington Post asked readers to identify people in photographs we pulled from the archives, or to submit their own. (We’ve edited the responses for clarity.)

1) David Schwartzman and other marchers cool their feet in the waters of the Reflecting Pool on the hot August day.

Men, women and children of all colors and religions marched side by side that hot August day. They cooled their feet together in the waters of the Reflecting Pool. (AP)

Men, women and children of all colors and religions marched side by side that hot August day. They cooled their feet together in the waters of the Reflecting Pool. (AP)

David Schwartzman attended the march and subsequently moved to D.C. Five decades later, he writes that he is still an activist:

 That’s me in the photo! When I saw it I recalled sitting there, near the edge of the Reflecting Pool. I am just to the right of the center… I was 19 years old, took the bus from Camp Midvale, a left wing interracial camp in the Ramapos [Mountains] of New Jersey. I still have the index card with the bus number.

I grew up in Brooklyn NY, living in DC since I joined the Howard University faculty 40 years ago, now Professor Emeritus. I am a proud member and activist of the DC Statehood Green Party. Achieving DC Statehood is part of the unfinished civil rights and human rights agenda, articulated so eloquently 50 years ago.

— Submitted by David Schwartzman

2) After the march, participants, including Eleanor Holmes, Rachelle Horowitz, Courtland Cox and Bob Moses, gathered to sing “We Shall Overcome.”

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After the march, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee staff and friends gathered to sing “We Shall Overcome.” Included are Eleanor Holmes, Rachelle Horowitz, Courtland Cox and Bob Moses. (Danny Lyon / Magnum Photos)

Immediately to the right of Rachelle Horowitz (or fifth from left in picture) is Blyden Jackson, then former chairman of New Haven CORE and a CORE worker assigned to help organize the March. To his right, is Joe Lewis, also originally from New Haven but at the time a CORE activist in New York who worked on the March staff. To Ms. Horowitz’s left, the white man in the sunglasses looks a lot like Tom Kahn (although the sunglasses obscure his face too much to be sure) who was, along with Ms. Horowitz, a key assistant to Bayard Rustin on the March staff. Eleanor Holmes also had a staff role in the March. Also, the slim black woman who is fifth from the right in the picture looks to be Joyce Ladner, then a SNCC field secretary assigned to the March national office.

— Submitted by John Burke

3) Clinton McRae offers Kathleen Johnson a helping hand out of the Reflecting Pool.

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Kathleen Johnson’s fall into the Reflecting Pool made newspapers and magazines around the country. Johnson, who tumbled into the water when trying to snap a photograph, recently spoke with The Post’s Petula Dvorak about her memories from that day.

Her niece originally shared Johnson’s photograph with The Post:

This is my aunt Kathleen Johnson being helped out of the reflecting pool by my dad, Clinton McRae, during the original March on Washington in 1963. She, my uncle and my parents traveled from Newark, NJ to participate in the historic civil rights march.

My dad and uncle are now recently deceased but she and my mom, Jean McRae (not seen in this picture), are attending the 2013 March on Washington. Both [are] in their 70s. These two women mobilized communities 50 years ago and will be attending the August 24, 2013 March on Washington.

— Submitted by Karen McRae

4) The crowd erupts in cheers and applause at the conclusion of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

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The crowd erupts in cheers and applause at the conclusion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and his call to let freedom to ring “from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city.” (Flip Schulke / Corbis)

We haven’t identified the cheering members of the crowd (if you can help, let us know), but we did receive a note about one man in the image.

At the bottom of the photo, notice the profile of a white man in glasses and a suit jacket. The man is the late Philip A. Hart, the Democratic U.S. senator from Michigan. Hart was floor manager of the 1965 Voting Rights bill, which was his proudest accomplishment. He died in 1976 a few months after the Senate had voted to name its third office building for him.

— Submitted by Barbara K. Kincaid, former press aide to the Philip A. Hart