"I Was There"

February 28, 2020
Left to right: Joan Baez, Rachel Robinson, Nan Orrock, John Lewis
JEFF HUTCHENS—GETTY IMAGES; GREGORY SMITH—AP PHOTO; THOS ROBINSON—GETTY IMAGES; RICH FURY—GETTY IMAGES

What was it like to attend the March on Washington? TIME magazine spoke with people who were there.

Joan Baez, Singer

RICH FURY—GETTY IMAGES

“There are some times when you know something is going to be historic. I remember it was hot, I remember what I was wearing, I remember singing, and there was that ocean of people. I’d never seen anything like it. I remember the electricity in the air.”

Rachel Robinson, Founder, Jackie Robinson Foundation

THOS ROBINSON—JACKIE ROBINSON FOUNDATION—GETTY IMAGES

“We listened very carefully to the words as if they were almost like instructions. We all wanted to do something, and we wanted to have goals that we were going to work toward. And the speech gave a lot of ideas in terms of that. It wasn’t just a spiritual thing. It was also very informative and instructive. We were looking for leadership, and he was offering it.”

Nan Orrock, Georgia State Senator

GREGORY SMITH—AP PHOTO

“I resolved at that moment that I was going to be active, that I was going to be a part of changing the country, raising these demands and lifting my voice for people who were doing everything they could.”

John Lewis, U.S. Congressman

JEFF HUTCHENS—GETTY IMAGES

“You saw signs from all over America: political signs, religious signs. People representing different faiths. Churches from the heart of the Midwest, the far West. People coming from all over the country to bear witness, to participate. Many of the people were well dressed. It was like going to church or temple or synagogue. People then, when they went out for a protest, they dressed up.”

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