About this section
As our nation takes pause to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, we decided to capture the memories of JCSU alumni who attended the march and those who have vivid memories of images and words from that day as they sat glued to their television sets. The March on Washington was organized and attended by people of all races, creeds, colors and religions from across the country as the National Mall filled with people who had the conviction and moral courage to stand for human rights during a time of turmoil.
Many who attended the march were college students who had participated in demonstrations throughout the South and even joined the ranks of the Freedom Riders. Students from Johnson C. Smith University joined students from higher education institutions across the nation to work for change and peacefully demand that Black Americans be given full rights and access to the American Dream. With their determination in the face of danger, college students helped galvanize the conscience of a nation.
JCSU students marched in demonstrations in the city of Charlotte, held sit-ins in restaurants located in the area known today as uptown Charlotte, tried on hats at local department stores to peacefully demand equal treatment, and did other things great and small to stand for justice and affect change. For many of them, the fight for freedom led to Washington, D.C. on August 28, 1963.
The University has created this special section of our website to tell the story of that day through the memories of our alumni. On this website, you may read the memories of alumni who attended the march and the memories of those who experienced it through their televisions and radios. Some of them even tell of their civil rights activism in Charlotte during their college years. JCSU President Ronald L. Carter has written a powerful reflection that ties the March on Washington to current challenges facing people of color and challenges facing Historically Black Colleges and Universities today. The website also includes a timeline of milestones in the pursuit of civil rights from the days that explorers landed in North America.
We hope this website will not only spotlight the memories of our alumni but also inspire today’s students and students in future generations as they “hold high the Gold and Blue” while carrying on the University’s strong traditions, rich legacy and proud heritage of being at the forefront of change.