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Norton Remembers 1963 March on Washington

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton appears on PBS’ “NewsHour” during the 6 p.m. hour Wednesday night to talk about her role in the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and what it was like to work for the march’s openly gay chief organizer, Bayard Rustin.

In a one-on-one interview with host Gwen Ifill, Norton will share memories from the historic day in 1963 when more than 250,000 people descended on the city to march with Martin Luther King Jr. She also recounts the months of planning leading up to King’s Aug. 28 “I Have a Dream” speech.

Norton was 26 at the time and had been working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee on the Mississippi Delta before being called to join the staff of the march, under Rustin’s leadership, in New York.

“At that point when there was no consciousness about sexual orientation as a right, the civil rights groups stood fast and stood behind Bayard,” Norton said in a recent interview with News Channel 8’s Bruce DePuyt.

Norton helped organized a letter-writing campaign that helped encourage President Barack Obama to this year award Rustin a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The interview is one part of a PBS “NewsHour” series leading up to the Aug. 28 50th anniversary of the march.

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