Lowcountry minister recalls his steps during the Civil Rights M - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Lowcountry minister recalls his steps during the Civil Rights March on Washington

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Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights March on Washington, where Dr. Martin Luther King Junior delivered his legendary "I have a Dream" speech.  Many in the Lowcountry witnessed that historic day first hand, including a former Burke High School student.

Sixty-seven- year-old Rev. Thomas Nesbitt recalls his once in a lifetime journey. Rev. Nesbitt is a member of the ministerial staff at Morris Brown AME Church in Downtown Charleston. Fifty years ago, church leaders chose him to be one of the young members to make the trip to Washington for the civil rights march. Rev. Nesbitt says, "I was simply glad to be there. I was simply glad to be a part of what has become a magnificent history. I was about 17. I was a rising senior at Burke High School, beginning of my senior year. We rode through the mountains of North Carolina, picked up people along the way, and it was a matter of a caravan going to Washington at that time." The images, though created fifty years ago, remain fresh.  "Almost a quarter of a million people, 250-thousand people plus marching that day, and what really amazed me was the organization of that situation. It was like wow! It was like am I really here? At 17 I'm kind of walking along with the march, kind of taking it all in. We marched as a group. We had cards, we had banners. We met all these people from all over the world, not just the United States, but all over the world. I was just thrilled to be in that situation and very blessed and very humbled."

The retired naval shipyard worker and teacher's assistant says he is thankful to have been a part of that important day in our nations history.  Nesbitt says, "I was approximately maybe two to three-hundred yards away from Dr. King when he was making his speech. Somebody had to stand up. Somebody had to say this is wrong, and he did it in a nonviolent way, that is most significant. Thank God for Dr. King, for if it were not for him, we would not be where we are today." As he reflects on the steps he took a half century ago, Rev. Nesbitt says his thoughts are bitter sweet, "We still have a very long way to go. Everyday we make progress, we make strides. Unfortunately everyday there is something that pulls us back into the abyss that says things just aren't right. So we still have a long way to go."

Rev. Nesbitt says his experience from the day led him to go to go college in Washington D.C. He attended Howard University.

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