Awareness: Civil Rights Activist James Felder reflects March on Washington 60 years later
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) -Sixty years ago, in segregated Washington, DC more than 200,000 people gathered for the first and largest protest against racial inequality, the March on Washington.
In the crowd was Sumter native, James Felder who was in the military at the time suited up and on standby just in case havoc was to break loose.
In this episode of Awareness, Felder reflects on his time at the March on Washington, working for President John F. Kennedy before and during the time Kennedy was murdered and revisiting the nation’s capitol sixty years after the March on Washington.
In this segment, James Felder talks with Billie Jean Shaw about how he got involved in the Civil Rights Movement as a young boy alongside Congress James Clyburn in Sumter County.
In 1960, Felder led a march in Atlanta along with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was also just entering the Civil Rights movement. Three years later, in 1963, Felder was involved in key moments in the movement including the funeral of Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers and of course the March on Washington.
Felder continues to share his first-hand account of his involvement in the March on Washington, He explains why President Kennedy who was a supporter of the Civil Rights movement was not in support of the March on Washington and what it was like witnessing Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s iconic “I Have A Dream, " speech.
Sixty years later, Felder returned to Washington, DC to attend the March on Washington.
Just like in 1963, the protest was peaceful and the bulk of the crowd was made up of young people which Felder says he was happy to see.
If you have an idea for Awareness, contact Billie Jean Shaw at billiejean.shaw@wistv,com. You can also follow Billie Jean on social media on Instagram @billiejeantv and on Facebook at Billie Jean Shaw.
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