Dr. Clarence B. Jones: Memories of the March on Washington — 59 Years Ago Today

Martin Luther King, Jr. at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963; public domain

“The night before, Harry Belafonte called me at Willard Hotel insisting that I tell him what suit and color I planned on wearing to the March.


He said he had given Charlton Heston photo of me to identify when he and charted plane of Hollywood celebrities were planning to arrive at the MARCH around noon August 28th, but wanted to additionally tell Heston what color suit I would be wearing.


I also remember while Martin and other March leaders sitting on platform as program was underway, person from AP Newswire coming over to me to say they had just received news that Dr. W.E.B. DuBois has died age 90 night before in Ghana, and thought leaders on Platform at MOW should know this.


So I wrote note to Martin informing him, which was hand over hand delivered to him on stage Platform. When publicly announced by A. Phillip Randolph, 250,000+ people responded with loud gasps.


Aside from Martin’s speech that which I most remember is the speech of Rabbi Joachim Prinz, then President of the American Jewish Congress.


‘When I was a Rabbi in Berlin Germany under Hitler, I remember many things. But, that which I most remember was the silence of good people!’


And, of course crafting the first seven paragraphs of Martin’s so called “I Have A Dream” speech.


I was 32 years old in August 1963.”


Dr. Clarence B. Jones

August 28, 2022


Young girl at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963; public domain