March on Washington Comes Full Circle for UConn Professor

Fifty years ago, people from our area boarded buses bound for the March on Washington at the nation's Capitol.

Though they were mostly strangers, they shared a belief of racial equality.

Since then, the civil rights movement has won many victories, but some say Dr. King’s dream hasn’t been realized. That's why Richard Brown says he’s back a second time.

With a smile on his face, saluted by thunderous applause, University of Connecticut professor emeritus Richard Brown took to the front lines of today's commemorative event, joined by dozens of other veterans from the 1963 march.

“I’m thrilled to be able to be back here a second time," he said.

Brown trekked to the steps below the Lincoln Memorial five decades ago to hear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak. As the crowd of thousands prepared to make that journey again on Wednesday, officials first recognized those who marched for equality 50 years ago.

“It kind of surprised me because, of course, what I did was no different from what hundreds of thousands of other people did on that day," said Brown.

During an interview before he headed to DC, Brown opened up in a way he said he rarely does.

“From my position of relative privilege, it was important that I share in this effort,” Brown said.

He was a Harvard grad student at the time of the march. Inspired by Dr. King's dream, Brown said he turned his privilege into progress, fighting for equal employe meant opportunities for African-Americans in Boston.

“The movement didn’t win its victories overnight," said Brown. “I don’t expect that victories will be won overnight in our own time.”

But he does expect that 50 years later, he and others who gathered to march today can renew Dr. King's effort to move the country closer to justice for all.

“Long-term efforts by able people, committed, who have justice on their side, has a good chance,” Brown said.

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