March to Freedom, 1963 and Beyond
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/01/2015
Year Published: 2015
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20860
Charles Simmons recounts his participation in the Walk to Freedom with Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963.
I remember Detorit's 1963 Walk to Freedom with Martin Luther King, Jr. [on June 23, a preparatory march for the historic March on Washington later that summer - ed.] I was part of a youth organization, UHURU (meaning Freedom in Swahili). We had taken this name because throughout the 1950s UHURU had been the battle cry of the people of Kenya struggling against British colonialism.
I had just returned from serving in the U.S. Air Force, where I had experienced the brutal, barbaric and inhumane treatment of African Americans in Mississippi and Georgia. I had begun to oppose the U.S. war in Vietnam and the invasion of Cuba. I was a third-generation factory worker on the line in the auto industry and a first generation student at Wayne State University.