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50 Years Later, Central Ohio Man Remembers March on Washington

COLUMBUS (James Jackson/Ken Hines) -- A central Ohio man who witnessed Dr. Martin Luther King's iconic "I have a Dream" speech is among millions of Americans fondly looking back on the March on Washington as the legendary event's 50th anniversary approaches.

A half-century after its delivery, King's speech still gives Joseph Jamison chills. The Army veteran, who was 23 at the time, lived in Washington, D.C during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which the speech was delivered.

"We were looking for a job opportunity. Somebody said there was a march going on. So I said, 'Let's go down and get in the march,'" Jamison said.

More than 250,000 civil rights supporters marched that day, including some of the era's most well-known entertainers.

"Sammy Davis Jr., you know, and they were just shaking hands," Jamison said. "Harry Belafante, you know -- and I was just fascinated by that."

Despite the star power, it was not until the conclusion of King's speech that Jamison understood the historical significance of the event.

"It was just like, people like they were in church. Just clapping and tears were running and everybody was hugging each other, embracing each other," Jamison said.

The Columbus Urban League's Dorian Wingard did not attend the march, but understands it's value. He is among 50 people who will board a bus bound for the nation's capital Friday night to celebrate the march's anniversary.

"It's historic purpose, at the end of the day, was for family stabilization, urban family stabilization, from jobs through access to quality education, quality employment opportunities, and housing," Wingard said of the march.

Joseph Jamison applauds the efforts of those who will travel to Washington to honor the march, and remembers a time when African Americans had to sit in the backs of buses.

Although he says we've come a long way, Jamison believes the struggle is not yet over.

"We have a long way to go. We still do," he said.
 
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