Chicago-based activist, artist and educator Dr. Marguerite Mariama-Moore sent us her memories of the 1963 Boycott and the Civil Rights movement:
Last year, as I watched coverage of the 50th anniversary commemoration of The March on Washington, I was quite moved by the many memories it evoked: I was 13 years old during the first march and although too young to travel alone, disappointed at not being allowed to go. However, years later, I made a point of taking the trek to DC to participate in the 20th anniversary celebration.
During the march in ’63, I distinctly remember how my family and I sat in front of the TV glued to every moment of that event. That same year, my friends and I boycotted school to take part in one of several small protest marches against the so-called ‘Willis Wagons”. It was scary to be guided into a police van (paddy wagon) and shocking to see adults who had been beaten for resisting arrest. Weeks later, as the number of marches grew, the effort congealed into a major movement that culminated in the now famous event in October 1963.
My civil rights activism continued and one of the most memorable experiences would take place, again, during my high school years. Participating in the July 1966 march and rally led by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from city hall to Solder Field, was exhilarating (at the time, my father – a policeman who later became a detective – stood guard in a security line in front of the building; I broke ranks with my fellow marchers to go over and hug my dad). My feelings of exhilaration and pride grew as the crowd moved toward the field growing larger by the minute. By the time we reached Soldier Field, the audience was huge. It was a powerful moment and a preview of what would become my life as an artist/activist/educator.
Marguerite Mariama-Moore, Ph.D.