Woman recalls trip to Washington as anniversary of King's 'I have a dream' speech approaches

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by Joe Flanagan, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on August 26, 2013 at 12:09 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 26 at 12:21 AM

On the steps of her home in Huntersville Sunday, Jacquelyn Lee held the Freedom March pennant she received 50 years ago when she arrived in the nation's capital for the March on Washington. If her father had his way, Lee wouldn't have been there in 1963 for the history-making day.

"He thought there was going to be violence, and I am the baby girl," explained Lee. "He thought that I would get hurt or something like that, but my mother said, 'No, let her go!"

Lee rode on one of 3 buses that traveled together from Norfolk.

Pointing out people on her bus, Lee said of one passenger, "She used to be one of the Norfolk 17, Patricia Garbot."

The Norfolk 17 was the group of 17 teenagers who became the first black students to attend previously all-white high schools in Norfolk.

"We all stayed together in a group, 'cause nobody wanted to get lost," recalled Lee. "We stayed together in a group, and we were there, actually, some holding hands, because I was only 20 years old. It was an experience."

Lee, who graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk was attending Norfolk State University at the time of the Freedom March. She and the others who attended it gathered at First Calvary Baptist Church from where their buses for Washington departed.

"I just believed in Martin Luther King, and I believed that nonviolence was the key. A lot of things went on: people being sprayed by dogs and people being shot and killed, but I believed that nonviolence paid off at the end," Lee said.

President Barak Obama will commemorate the March on Washington Wednesday

"We should be thinking about how we have come this far and how far we have to go in order to achieve our rights, said Lee.

Referring to King's speech in 1963, she offered, "One of the most important ways that we can keep his dream alive is to vote."
 

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